A man was killed in firing during the violent protest in Rajasthan's Dungarpur where tensions escalated further on Saturday evening forcing the state government to rush three senior police officers to the district to control the situation.
Earlier in the day, candidates of a teacher recruitment exam confronted police and indulged in arson while a delegation of theirs met Tribal Area Development Minister Arjun Singh Bamniya in Udaipur.
While the meeting was going on, the protesters confronted the police again in the evening following which police opened fire to control the situation.
However, police said it was not confirmed whether the man was killed in police firing or was hit by one of the bullets fired by the agitators.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot chaired a high-level review meeting in the evening and held discussions with education minister Govind Singh Dotasra and senior police officers.
To restore the law and order situation, DG (crime) M L Lather, ADG ACB Dinesh M N, Jaipur police commissioner Anand Srivastava and other senior officers have been sent to Dungarpur by helicopter at night, an official release said.
The chief minister once again appealed to the agitators to end the violence and said the government is ready to meet all the legitimate demands of any section of the society, the release said.
Governor Kalraj Mishra spoke to Gehlot on phone in Jaipur and called principal secretary (home) Abhay Kumar and ADG (law and order) Saurabh Srivastava at Raj Bhawan and directed them to control the situation, it said.
Meanwhile, the agitators pelted stones at police, torched a few other vehicles and continued to hold control over nearly 25 km stretch of the highway.
On direction of the chief minister, Bamniya, former Udaipur MP Raghuveer Meena and other public representatives of Dungarpur district met a delegation of agitating candidates to resolve the matter.
The meeting lasted for nearly three hours at the residence of Meena in Parsad, Udaipur, which is nearly 60 km from the violence hit area.
"We have appealed to the agitators to end the violence while assuring them that the government will do what is legitimate to meet their demand. The meeting was held in a positive manner," Meena told PTI.
Bamniya, Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP) MLAs Rajkumar Roat and Ramprasad, Congress MLA Ganesh Ghogra, former MP Tarachand Bhagora, some advocates and members of the delegation of the agitating candidates were present in the meeting.
"The protest was initially held by the candidates but we have reports that police and administration officials targeted local villagers and arrested them which intensified the violence and now it has become villagers versus police and administration there," Roat said.
He said that the government's priority is to control the situation first.
After the meeting, Roat and Meena left for Kherwara in Dungarpur to convince the agitators.
Meanwhile, fresh incidents of stone pelting and arson occurred on the highway while few more vehicles were torched on Saturday, police control room said.
Violence erupted on Thursday when the candidates of teachers recruitment examination-2018 blocked the Udaipur-Ahmedabad highway, pelted stones at police, damaged several properties and torched vehicles demanding filling of 1,167 general vacant posts with ST candidates.
The violence continued on Friday and incidents occurred on Saturday as well.
IG Udaipur range Binita Thakur said that additional police forces have been deployed in the area and efforts are being made to restore the situation.
Another police officer said that nearly 25 km of the highway is blocked.
"The highway is blocked from Ratanpur to Khariwara. Once the situation is under complete control, traffic will be resumed on the highway," he said.
The candidates have torched nearly 25 vehicles including buses, vandalised a petrol pump, hotel and other properties since Thursday.
The vehicle of SP Dungarpur was also torched on Thursday.
35 policemen including additional SP and deputy SP were injured in the stone pelting incident on Thursday.
The police have so far arrested 30 people in connection with the violence while mobile internet services have been suspended in the affected area in view of the tension.
Gehlot had on Friday appealed to the agitators to stop the violence and also held discussion with public representatives of Dungarpur with regard to the situation.