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Rediff.com  » News » Maratha quota stir turns violent, many policemen hurt

Maratha quota stir turns violent, many policemen hurt

Source: PTI
September 01, 2023 21:51 IST
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A protest for Maratha reservation in Jalna district of central Maharashtra turned violent on Friday, leading to dozens of persons including police personnel getting injured, officials said.

IMAGE: Marathas protest in Jalna, Maharashtra, September 1, 2023.
Photograph: Screen grab/ANI Video

The police used baton-charge and fired teargas shells to disperse a violent mob at Antarwali Sarathi village on Dhule-Solapur road in Ambad tehsil. Villagers also claimed that police fired some rounds in the air, but officials did not confirm it.

The protesters, led by Manoj Jarange, had been staging a hunger strike demanding reservation for the Maratha community at the village since Tuesday.

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde made an appeal for peace and also announced that a committee will be set up for a high-level probe into the violence.

 

The reservation provided by the state government for the politically dominant Maratha community was quashed by the Supreme Court earlier.

The agitation turned violent on Friday as some persons targeted state transport buses and private vehicles, the police said.

At least 18 police personnel and officials including deputy superintendent of police Sachin Sangle were injured in stone pelting while 20 protesters were injured in baton-charge at Antarwali Sarathi, police sources said.

The chief minister had spoken to the protesters on Wednesday, urging them to end the hunger strike, but they refused to relent, officials said.

On Thursday, shops and other commercial establishments at Wadigodri village in Ambad tehsil had remained closed, while there was a massive protest gathering at Shahgadh earlier in the week.

Additional police forces have been sent to Jalna, officials said.

Speaking to a regional news channel, Chief Minister Shinde said the state government was committed to provide reservation to the Maratha community, and nobody should resort to violence.

”The state government is taking some steps to give reservation to the community. During Devendra Fadnavis's tenure as chief minister, the state government had given reservation to the Maratha community but the Supreme Court quashed it,” he said.

”I do not want to go into the politics of it because it was not properly followed up. However, the state government is taking this issue seriously and we will welcome it if there are any suggestions. I appeal to the protesters to maintain peace so that the common people do not suffer,” he said.

A committee will be set up for a high-level probe into the violence, Shinde announced.

Congress leader Ashok Chavan demanded that the state government make clear its stand on Maratha reservation.

The baton-charge by police at Antarwali Sarathi village was unacceptable, the former chief minister added.

The Shiv Sena-BJP government must state what steps it is going to take to provide reservation to the community, Chavan said.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Ambadas Danve too condemned the use of force by police and demanded that Home Minister Devendra Fadnavis state on whose orders police resorted to baton-charge.

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