Authorities in Pune suspended internet services in parts of the district as a precautionary measure as Maratha outfits began a shutdown in Maharashtra on Thursday. The groups are demanding reservations for the community in government jobs and education.
The internet services were suspended in Shirur, Khed, Baramati, Junnar, Maval, Daund and Bhor tehsils of Pune district, ANI reported.
Protestors disrupted road traffic in Latur, Jalna, Solapur and Buldhana districts, PTI reported. No state buses are plying in Satara, while all petrol pumps and vegetable markets are shut. State-run buses were also partially suspended in Osmanabad and Buldhana. The state bus service was not running in Pune too, according to ANI.
Several IT offices in Pune city were reportedly told to shut down. Some protestors with hockey sticks barged into an office in the city’s Vimannagar area and ordered it to be closed. The Mumbai-Pune Expressway was also blocked by protestors, according to PTI.
Protestors have decided to organise a rally on motorcycles in Pune district. In an order issued on Wednesday, Pune Collector Naval Kishore Ram said schools and colleges in the district would remain closed on Thursday. Some domestic airlines have advised travellers to factor in extra time while travelling to and from airports.
Around 100 protestors gathered near Mumbai (Suburban) Collector Dipendra Singh Kushwah’s office in Bandra Kurla Complex in the morning. The numbers swelled to around 300 and then 500 as other groups of demonstrators joined in, clapping their hands and shouting expletives.
The shutdown was called by Sakal Maratha Samaj, an umbrella body of Maratha groups, across the state except in Navi Mumbai, where protests last month had turned violent. The Agriculture Produce Market Committee in Navi Mumbai has however decided to remain shut on Thursday.
The Sakal Maratha Samaj said the protest will be organised between 8 am and 6 pm on Thursday. Another Maratha outfit, Maratha Kranti Morcha, called for a sit-in protest outside the Mumbai suburban district collector’s office. Adequate police personnel have been deployment to ensure a peaceful bandh, ANI quoted Mumbai Police Public Relations Officer Manjunath Shinghe as saying.