Violence Mars Maratha Quota Stir, Stray Incidents Hits Mumbai Amid Shutdown


Stray violence hits Mumbai amid Maratha shutdown on Wednesday. — IANS

MUMBAI (IANS) — The second phase of the Maharashtra shutdown call by Maratha groups seeking quotas, evoked mixed response in Mumbai and coastal districts of the state, punctuated with incidents of stray violence, here on Wednesday.

Since morning large groups of Maratha activists armed with saffron flags and banners, took to the streets with noisy processions amidst tight police security in Mumbai and other districts like Palghar, Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg.

Roads were blocked in several parts of Mumbai. There was an attempt to block the suburban railway system in Thane. Stones were pelted at city transport buses in Navi Mumbai, and private vehicular traffic was also stopped by the protestors.

Most shops and commercial establishments remained shut in important pockets like Dadar, Andheri, Mulund, Kanjurmarg, Borivali, Kandivali, and in many other places as Maratha activists went around requesting shopkeepers to down shutters and express solidarity with their cause.

A large group of protestors blocked certain pockets on the Eastern Express Highway and Western Express Highway, disrupting normal traffic movement, as well as arterial roads in the suburbs, stopping all vehicles from plying to and from on the highways.

Some protestors blocked the railway tracks at Jogeshwari but were evicted by the security forces and normal services resumed in 10 minutes, said a Western Railway spokesperson.

However, schools and colleges functioned normally, though there were reports of drop in attendance. Mumbai’s lifeline the suburban trains and long-distance services were largely unaffected and other essential services functioned smoothly.

Members of the Maratha community call for a Mumbai Bandh as they stage a demonstration to press for a Maratha quota, in Mumbai’s Dadar on Tuesday. — IANS

Today was the second phase of the state-wide shutdown call by the Maratha Kranti Morcha. The first phase was held spontaneously on Tuesday in most districts of northern, western and Marathwada regions of Maharashtra.

Earlier, a policemen and four others were injured, four persons attempted suicide, over a dozen vehicles damaged or torched, road and rail links blocked while a MP and MLC were roughed up, as the stir for the Maratha quota turned violent in parts of Maharashtra on Tuesday.

Several Maratha organisations had called for a “Mumbai shutdown” on Wednesday, with the Maratha Sakal Samaj (the state-level body) appealing to all community members to observe it peacefully.

Starting with Aurangabad, a series of processions were taken out on Tuesday in various districts of northern, western Maharashtra and Marathwada with thousands taking to the streets demanding reservations in government jobs and education.

Roads were blocked in Aurangabad, Osmanabad, Pune, while a fire brigade van, a bus and a truck (in Aurangabad), a police van (in Hingoli), at least five state transport buses (in Kolhapur), were pelted with stones and other several vehicles also damaged by angry Marathas, while there was rail blockade for half an hour at Parbhani this afternoon.

The Mumbai-Agra National Highway in Nashik was blocked, while protests were carried out in Nanded, Jalgaon, Parbhani, Kolhapur, Osmanabad, Ahmednagar, Jalna, Nandurbar, Yavatmal and Akola districts, and roads were blocked by burning tyres in Nashik and Hingoli.

As a precautionary measure, the authorities suspended internet services in Aurangabad, some schools and colleges remained shut in Nanded, Osmanabad and certain other places, even as the protests subsided by evening.

Several districts observed a spontaneous shutdown on Tuesday, mourning for Kakasaheb Dattatreya Shinde, 28 who committed suicide by jumping in the River Godavari in Aurangabad’s Kaigaon on Tuesday.

Earlier, the Maharashtra government announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for Shinde, but various parties including Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena have demanded Rs 50 lakhs as the issue figured in the Lok Sabha.

In Aurangabad, two persons Jayant Sonawane and Jagannath Sonawane, attempted suicide by jumping into a river and consuming poison respectively, but both were rushed to a hospital and are under treatment.

Maratha Kranti activists go on rampage as they stage a demonstration to press for a Maratha quota, in Aurangabad on Tuesday . A policemen and two others were injured as the campaign for a Maratha quota turned violent as protests were held in different parts of Maharashtra. — IANS

In Beed, two persons sought to commit suicide by jumping from the building terrace of the Tehsildar office, but police prevented them at the last minute.

Various prominent groups held meetings in different parts of the state for finalizing the main programme of a Maharashtra shutdown on August 9 – celebrated as August Kranti Divas – to intensify the ongoing two-year old agitation.

Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of the government an embattled Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil, who was in Sangli, urged the Marathas to remain calm and call off their agitation.

“Agitations, violence and protests will not ensure reservations. We are keen that the Maratha community should get reservations… we have to consider various aspects,” he said.

Patil, and Education Minister Vinod Tawde added that since the matter is sub-judice before Bombay High Court and the Bharatiya Janata Party government was trying its best to resolve the issue.

The Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena have urged the ruling BJP government to immediately resolve the long-pending Maratha reservations issue for which the community is agitating peacefully since over two years.

Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.


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