Following violent clashes between members of the Patel community and the police across Gujarat on Tuesday, mobile internet services and messenger apps such as WhatsApp have been suspended in some parts of the state.
The mega rally called in Ahmedabad by Hardik Patel, the convener of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti to demand an OBC quota for the Patel community, also known as the Patidars, turned violent with protesters resorting to arson and stone-throwing.
Citing security measures, authorities suspended WhatsApp services in the state on Wednesday, given that Hardik Patl and the members have been mobilising their campaign through the application, NDTV reported.
"Last night, there were concerns of rumour-mongering and crowd mobilization through WhatsApp," a police officer told the news channel.
Hardik Patel had sent out a message on whatsApp after his release on Tuesday night, in which he called for a 'Gujarat Bandh'.
"I make an appeal to maintain peace and keep calm. I give a call for Gujarat bandh tomorrow (Wednesday). This decision has been taken by Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti considering widespread violence in the state," Patel said in his message.
Paramilitary forces have been deployed across the state after violence was reported from several areas such as Rajkot, Surat and Ahmedabad.
An Ahmedabad resident told IBTimes India that WhatsApp was blocked since Tuesday night.
"We have not been able to use WhatsApp since last night. Even mobile Internet has been blocked. We are relying on Wi-Fi as of now," the local said.