A 45-year-old Maratha quota activist allegedly committed suicide in Bandra area of Mumbai in the early hours of Thursday leaving behind a note in which he urged community members to fight for the cause, a police official said.
Sunil Kawale, a resident of Chikangaon in Ambad tehsil of Jalna district, was found hanging from pole number 4 of a flyover between Bandra and Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in the western part of the metropolis, he said.
He hanged himself by tying himself to the electricity pole on the flyover and then jumping off, the official said.
A kin told PTI Kawale had called at around 12.45am, some time before he ended his life, but a conversation could not take place due to wind disturbance.
"I kept the phone by my side and went to sleep. When I woke up and saw Kawale's mobile status, I called back. However, the call was answered by a policeman who told me what had happened and asked me to reach Sion hospital," he said.
Kawale's son Nagesh told PTI his father committed suicide for the cause of Maratha reservation and stressed his 'martyrdom must not go in vain'.
"My father was fearless. He was fighting for Maratha reservation for the last few years. I came to know about his suicide from his mobile phone status and then we came to the (Sion) hospital," an emotional Nagesh said.
A suicide note found near his body said he was ending his life for the sake of Maratha reservation, and the white shirt Kawale was wearing also had a message making this demand, the police official informed.
In his suicide note, Kawale asked people from the community to assemble in Mumbai on October 24, adding the 'only mission' now was 'Maratha reservation first and only then elections'.
'The Maratha community will get reservation on October 24. We should gather and should focus only on Maratha reservation,' he mentioned in the note.
'If we sit on hunger strike for reservation for four-five days, nobody dies. So all should come to Mumbai on October 24,' he urged community members in the note.
As per the police, Kawale was an active member of the Maratha Kranti Morcha, which has been seeking quota for the community, and had attended all 58 rallies organised over this demand.
On being alerted, Kherwadi police arrived at the site and sent the body for post mortem at civic-run Sion hospital at around 1:30am, the official added.