Mumbai: Shops are shut, Mumbai-Pune Expressway is blocked, and buses and vehicles are forcibly stopped mid-way in Mumbai, Thane and various parts of Maharashtra as Maratha protesters hit streets consecutively for second day on Wednesday to press their demand of reservation in government jobs and education.
The state government has deployed additional security forces at various places to avoid any untoward incident. The pro-reservation groups have exempted schools, hospitals, medical and other essential services, including vegetables from the bandh. However, protestors have asked petrol pumps to shut down and have also urged the Thane Depot Manager not to ply buses.
The Shiv Sena has been supporting the Maratha community's demand for reservation but decided not to participate in the protest.
Earlier in the morning, protesters gathered at various locations in the Mumbai and the neighbouring Raigad and Palghar districts. At some places, theyr raised slogans against Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Public Works Department Minister Chandrakant Patil for allegedly insulting sentiments of the Maratha community.
They also attacked public buses in Mumbai, and the neighbouring Thane and Navi Mumbai. At least nine BEST buses have damaged in parts of Navi Mumbai, Andheri and Kandivali till now. All shops near Jogeshwari station are shut. Commuters walked to the station as no auto rickshaws, two-wheelers are being allowed.
Maratha Kranti Morcha and other Maratha outfits have given a shutdown call in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and other parts of Maharashtra on Wednesday July 25, 2018 to press for their demand of reservation in government's job and education.
The Maratha outfits had given a Maharashtra Bandh call on Teuesday to protest against Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis's "provocative" remarks against the community. The protests took violent turn in many parts of the state after the reports spread that a 28-year-old farmer who was participating in the quota stir committed suicide by jumping off a bridge into the Godavari River in Aurangabad district.
“Fadnavis had said that some of our people might release snakes among devotees in Pandharpur and might pelt stones. This remark has triggered the violence on Monday. We have held 58 silent morchas in the past and have never resorted to such tactics. The insulting remarks have angered the community,” said Virendra Pawar, a morcha leader.
Violent protests were reported from Aurangabad, Sangli, Buldhana, Nanded, Akola, Parali, Washim and Shirdi in Ahmednagar district. Television footage showed tyres being burnt in front of a government office in Osmanabad and trains being blocked in Parbhani district.
Protesters in Aurangabad attacked the vehicle of Shiv Sena MP Chandrakant Khaire, who went to attend the funeral of the youth who jumped to his death in the river on Monday. Authorities suspended internet service in Aurangabad after the violent protests.
Maratha Kranti Morcha members took out a rally in Pune where sporadic incidents of stone pelting were reported. "Some people threw stones at an administrative building in Baramati and a state transport bus was attacked", ASP Sandip Pakhale said.
In Nashik district, activists staged a Rasta Roko on the Mumbai-Agra National Highway. The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation suspended its services to Aurangabad from Nashik, an official said.
Protesters burnt tyres at Sakora in Nandgaon taluka of Nashik, affecting traffic, the Rural Police Control said. Maratha activists were seen calling the shopowners in Malegaon to down their shutters.
Declaring to take their protest to Mumbai, Maratha Kranti Samaj announced that the organisation plans to observe a "peaceful" bandh on Wednesday as well. The organisation said Thane, Navi Mumbai and Raigad will be shutdown on Wednesday. "Schools and colleges will not be included in this bandh as we do not intend to trouble anyone," the organisation said.
Meanwhile, with the Maratha community’s agitation for reservation taking a violent turn, Chief Minister Fadnavis called an emergency high-level meeting Tuesday to review the “progress” made by the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission on the quota issue.
In May 2017, the Fadnavis government had informed the Bombay High Court that it was referring the matter to the Commission headed by a retired judge. According to sources, Fadnavis sought to know the progress made by the Commission on the reservation issue. The panel was said to have conveyed to the government that at least four more months would be needed to submit a report.
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