Maratha Kranti Morcha workers allegedly blocked the Pune-Nashik highway in Chakan on Monday, demanding reservations for jobs and education for their community. They reportedly torched five buses and damaged around 50 vehicles. Police resorted to baton charging the protestors before using tear gas to quell the violence, The Indian Express reported.
The local administration in Chakan imposed Section 144 to curb the violence from spreading, ANI reported. The curfew has now been revoked after the administration said the situation was under control. Superintendent of Police Sandeep Patil said additional police forces have been deployed in the area, India Today reported.
In Solapur, several incidents of stone-pelting were reported during the protests, Loksatta reported. The police resorted to baton-charging the protestors. Deputy Police of Commissioner Poornima Chowgule’s car was damaged during the demonstration. Most of the shops and business establishments in Solapur were shut on Monday.
On Sunday, several Maratha leaders in Latur said they would not pay taxes until the government complied with their demands for reservation quotas in government jobs and colleges. Community leaders from 22 districts resolved to boycott paying taxes and impose a blockade on all main roads with their family members, livestock and vehicles on August 9, DNA reported. The community will stage a sit-in protest on August 1 outside government offices and those run by MPs and local legislators.
Maratha Kranti Morcha leader Vinod Pokharkar said the August 9 protest will be staged as a display of strength. “We will hold a mega rally in Mumbai on August 9, August Kranti Din,” Pokharkar said.
Santosh Suryarao, the morcha convenor in Thane, said that the bail application for those arrested for violence in Panvel and Thane will be heard on August 3. “The Thane district committee is not planning to take the protest ahead at the moment as this will spoil the future prospects of young Marathas participating in the protests,” Suryawanshi told Scroll.in.
The Congress has written to Governor Vidyasagar Rao urging him to intervene in the matter and ask the state government to expedite its efforts for providing 16% reservation to Maratha community.
Protestor commits sucide
Maharashtra Public Service Commission aspirant Pramod Hore ended his life under a train in Mukundwadi in Aurangabad purportedly as part of the protest against the government over the reservation matter, PTI reported.
His family members have refused to collect his body until the state government decides to address the community’s reservation demands.
Protests erupted in Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Palghar, Raigad and Satara on July 23, leading to the death of a constable and two protestors. On July 25, the shutdown was called off after Fadnavis said the government had taken cognisance of protests and is ready to talk to the Maratha community. Six MLAs in the state have offered to resign over the reservation row.
On Sunday, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis initiated a discussion with several Maratha organisations in Mumbai, in a bid to thwart protests across the state. “We have urged the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission to expedite the work and complete the report soon,” Fadnavis reported. “The Bombay High Court has also sought a timetable which would be provided through an affidavit. After receiving the State Backward Class Commission report, the government will, within a month, initiate the Constitutional process by convening a special session of the state legislature.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s ally, Shiv Sena, advised the government against waiting of the commission’s report. “Additional reservation should be given to the Maratha community, without touching the existing reservations for Schedule Caste, Schedule Tribe, Other Backward Castes in education and government jobs,” Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray said. “The state government needs to send such a report to the Union government for getting the reservation, without waiting for the Commission’s report.”
The Navi Mumbai Crime Branch has taken over the investigation into the death of a 21-year-old man during the Maratha quota protest last week. Rohan Todkar was injured during the violence in Kopar Khairane on July 25. Todkar succumbed to the injuries at the state-run JJ Hospital on July 27. “No arrests have been made so far,” Tushar Doshi, Deputy Commissioner of Police told PTI.
Todkar’s sister told PTI that her brother got caught in the violence when he was out with friends.