Mumbai: To press their demand for reservation in government jobs and education, various Maratha organisations have decided to protest across Maharashtra today on Thursday August 09 - Quit India Day, amidst conflicting reports about Maharashtra Bandh Call.
Though some organisations announced to hold sit-in protest outside Collector and Prant offices across the state, few others have given a shutdown call in the state on Thursday. "The protest will be held in a peaceful manner from 08:00 am to 06:00 pm", a leader of Sakal Maratha Samaj said.
Though he said all essential services, schools and colleges have been excluded from the Maharashtra Bandh, some schools and colleges in Mumbai and other parts of the state have declared holiday on Thursday in the wake of the Maratha Bandh Call.
In Pune, which saw violence earlier during Maratha protests about two weeks ago, Collector Naval Kishore Ram issued an order announcing that schools and colleges will be close don Thursday.
Collector Naval Kishore Ram in the order issued said there could be road blockades and processions during the bandh and the possibility of stone-pelting on vehicles and arson cannot be ruled out. "Therefore, schools and colleges have been asked to remain closed and an advisory has been issued in this connection", the order said, according to Indian Express.
“Even if there is no untoward incident during the protest, roads might be blocked and we don’t want students to be inconvenienced and parents to be anxious unnecessarily,” the collector told PTI.
A release issued by the collectorate said that during the violence on July 30 in Chakan area, 70 to 80 vehicles were torched and damaged. “Two school buses were also torched in the violence and lives of students were endangered,” it said.
In view of the bandh, the majority of the commercial units in the Chakan industrial area have also decided to remain closed today on Thursday. The Maharasthra government has also cancelled all leaves of policemen and will deploy central forces in the state to ensure peace said government officials.
The bandh, even though state-wide, would not be observed in Navi Mumbai. Parts of Navi Mumbai had witnessed violence during the Maratha quota stir late last month. Around 20 policemen, including eight officers, were injured by stone-throwing protesters. A protester, injured in the violence in Navi Mumbai, had died.
"We are also making an appeal to Maratha youths to stay away from violence. We will not indulge in any aggressive protest and there will be no damage to public properties," Amol Jadhavrao, a leader of Sakal Maratha Samaj, was quoted as saying by the PTI.
Fresh Maratha protests come even after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that the government would give a reservation to the community before the end of November. The Chief Minister had also said that the mega recruitment of 72,000 employees in the state government will not be done till the Maratha reservation issue is not solved.
While Maratha outfit leaders have called for a peaceful bandh, within the community itself there are many who doubt it. “I have got calls from youngsters saying we are going to damage buses and all, I told them to just protest outside zilla parishad offices peacefully, however they are saying that we listened to you for two years when we took out peaceful morchas,let us do this.”said a Maratha community leader, according to The Economic Times.
Marathas, a politically influential community in the state, have been demanding 16 per cent reservation. The community had earlier taken out silent marches across the state to highlight their demands, prominent among them being that of reservation.
The agitation, however, turned violent after a 27-year-old protester jumped to his death in Godavari River near Aurangabad on July 23.
Police says between July 18 and 27, 276 cases of violence were registered across the state during the quota agitation. Property, including both public and private, worth more than Rs. 4.5 crore was damaged within those 10 days, according to NDTV.
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