reservation row

Maratha quota stir: At least 185 people arrested for violence and vandalism in Pune

Twenty people were arrested in Aurangabad for damaging public property vehicles; a police officer said all the accused were ‘outside elements’.

At least 185 people were arrested Pune city and 20 in Aurangabad in connection with incidents of violence and vandalism during a shutdown called by Maratha groups on Thursday, PTI quoted a police officer as saying. The groups have been demanding reservations for the community in government jobs and education.

In one incident on Thursday, protestors threw stones and bottles at security forces in Chandani Chowk in Pune. The police retaliated by firing tear gas shells and resorting to baton-charge, reported the Pune Mirror. “The situation went out of control as the protestors also broke the windshield of a police van and started throwing stones,” said Sub-inspector Ankush Karad. “We had to fire around five teargas shells to bring the situation under control.”

In another incident, protestors vandalised the main gate of the administrative building at the collector’s office, broke the glass and a few bulbs at the security cabin. This happened after conveners of the Maratha Kranti Morcha submitted a memorandum of their demands to District Collector Naval Kishore Ram. According to the police, the protestors were detained as they were unwilling to leave the premises.

“While 83 people were arrested in connection with the Chandani Chowk stone-pelting incident, 81 others were arrested for vandalism at the collector’s office,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Shivaji Bodkhe. “Besides, 21 others were arrested for sporadic incidents.”

All those arrested have been booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act. Bodkhe said all the accused were “outside elements” who had made their way into the protests.

In Aurangabad, 20 people were arrested for torching and damaging vehicles as well as public property, said police commissioner Chiranjeev Prasad, according to PTI.

Industry associations said protestors targeted 60 industrial premises in Waluj area of Aurangabad district. Industrialist Ravi Vaidya claimed factories in the district shut down their units on Friday to mark their protest against the attack.

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 Maratha Kranti Morcha had called for a sit-in protest outside the Mumbai suburban district collector’s office.

Protestors disrupted road traffic in Latur, Jalna, Solapur and Buldhana districts. No state bus plied in Satara while all petrol pumps and vegetable markets remained shut. State-run buses were also partially suspended in Osmanabad and Buldhana. The state bus service was not running in Pune too. Authorities in Pune had suspended internet services in parts of the district as a precaution.

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