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Rediff.com  » News » Buses torched, stone pelted as protests continue over Maratha quota demand

Buses torched, stone pelted as protests continue over Maratha quota demand

Last updated on: July 30, 2018 23:31 IST

The agitation by Marathas for job quota saw one more man committing suicide and protesters resorting to violence and arson at separate places in Maharashtra on Monday.

IMAGE: Maratha Kranti Morcha activists set ablaze buses during their bandh called for reservations in jobs and education, near Pune, Maharashtra. Photograph: PTI Photo

Four police officials were injured in stone pelting, while nearly 70 vehicles, including state and civic-run buses and those of police, were damaged or torched during the violence in Chakan near Pune, a senior police officer said.

Inspector General of Police (Kolhapur Range) Vishwas Nangare Patil said that 30 vehicles, mostly buses of the state transport undertaking and Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd, were torched by the protesters, while around 40 other vehicles, including private ones, were vandalised.

 

"The protesters torched vehicles of police outside the Chakan police station and pelted stone. However, police personnel dispersed the mob.

"Four police officials, including a senior inspector and Deputy Superintendent of Police Ganpat Madgulkar, sustained injuries in the stone pelting," said Patil.

In nearby Rajgurunagar town, protesters, numbering 3,000 to 4,000, gathered outside the main police station, and pelted stones, but the police force successfully dispersed them, the IGP said.

The police fired tear gas shells and resorted to lathicharge at several places to disperse the mob.

Patil said since protests were simultaneously taking place at several places in Pune district, the police force had to spread out.

"We are trying to bring the situation under control," he added.

IMAGE: Police personnel clash with the Maratha Kranti Morcha protesters in Maharashtra's Solapur. Photograph: PTI Photo

Due to the violence at Chakan, the traffic on the Pune -Nashik road was crippled.

Several Nashik as well as Pune-bound buses were cancelled due to the stir, officials said.

DySP Madgulkar said he was escorting a fire tender when a mob started pelting stone at the police van.

"While tackling the stone pelting mob, I received injuries in my leg," said Madgulkar, who is undergoing treatment at the hospital.

Quick Response Teams have been moved to the violence-affected area, the police said.

Some Maratha organisations had given a call for a bandh on Monday in the Chakan area and a rally was taken out.

Protesters clashed with the police in Solapur district, south-western Maharashtra, during a bandh on the issue.

IMAGE: Maratha Kranti Morcha activists burn a tyre to stop traffic in Solapur. Photograph: PTI Photo

The Solapur bandh call was given by prominent Maratha organisations, including the Maratha Kranti Morcha and Sakal Maratha Samaj.

The police cane-charged protesters after they pelted shops and some vehicles with stones, an official said.

Maratha outfits said a mega rally will be held in Mumbai on August 9 in support of their quota demand.

"We will hold a mega rally in Mumbai on August 9, August Kranti Din. We want to show our strength and endurance to the government," Maratha Kranti Morcha leader Vinod Pokharkar said.

Meanwhile, a 35-year-old man allegedly committed suicide by jumping in front of a moving train in Aurangabad in central Maharashtra over the Maratha quota demand, police said.

The man, Pramod Jaising Hore, had posted a message on his Facebook page and shared a message on WhatsApp on Sunday, saying he would be ending his life in support of the quota demand, Mukundwadi police station's Senior Inspector Natha Jadhav said.

Hore allegedly jumped before the running train in the Mukundwadi area on Sunday night, he said.

IMAGE: Maratha Kranti Morcha activists set ablaze buses in Solapur. Photograph: PTI Photo

He became to fourth person to lose life during the agitation over the last one week.

The politically-influential community, constituting around 30 per cent of the state's population, has been agitating to press their demand for reservation in jobs and education.

Amid the continuing agitation, the opposition Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party on Monday approached Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao, urging him to direct the Devendra Fadnavis government to announce a decision on the reservation issue immediately.

A senior state Congress leader said some of his party's legislators are mulling resigning from the assembly to force the government to take a quick decision on the issue.

In separate meetings with Rao at Raj Bhavan here, delegations of the parties asked him to instruct the government to announce its decision on reservations for Maratha, Muslim, Dhangar and Mahadev Koli communities.

IMAGE: Damaged bikes after Maratha Kranti Morcha protesters clashed with police personnel in Solapur. Photograph: PTI Photo

In its memorandum submitted to the governor, the NCP pitched for the government to recommend Constitutional amendment to give 16 per cent reservation to Marathas.

"The position of the BJP and the Shiv Sena over quota is vague," said the Congress memorandum submitted to the governor.

In Aurangabad, after learning about Hore's suicide, a large number of people gathered outside his house.

His family members said they will not take possession of the body till the state government takes a final decision on the issue of reservation, over which the Maratha community has been agitating.

Pro-reservation activists staged a 'rasta roko' (road blockade) on the Jalna Road.

Prior to this, two men had committed suicide over demand for the quota last week, while another died during violence by the agitationists.

The community had earlier taken out silent marches across the state to highlight their demands, prominent among them being that of reservation.

However, their latest round of agitation has taken a violent turn.

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