The Maratha reservation agitation has forced Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray to cut short his tour of Marathwada.
Acceding to police exhortations, Mr. Thackeray cancelled his tour of Beed district mid-morning on Tuesday and returned to Aurangabad.
The Maratha Kranti Morcha has called for a State-wide bandh on Tuesday after a young protester committed suicide in Aurangabad district on Monday. The morcha is leading protests in several parts of the State over the Maratha reservation issue.
The outfit, which led the ‘jal samadhi’ protest in which Kakasaheb Shinde died, is leading the agitation seeking reservation for the community in government jobs and education.
Shinde’s death had triggered a fresh set of protests in several parts of Maharashtra, with Opposition leaders seeking to put the onus on the BJP-led government in the state.
In the last few days, protests have take place in Buldhana, Akola, Parali, Washim and even in Mumbai.
Constable dies of heart attack
A police constable, deployed to oversee security for the funeral of Kakasaheb Shinde in Aurangabad’s Kaygaon village, dies after suffering a cardiac arrest. The deceased constable has been identified as Shyam Padgaonkar.
Chandrakant Patil calls protestors ‘paid elements’
“Can the question of reservation be resolved by breaking Ministers’ vehicles or torching State Transport buses? There are paid elements who trying to discredit the agitation for Maratha reservation and defame the government, which has been functioning smoothly for the past four years,” says Maharashtra Revenue Minister and senior BJP leader Chandrakant Patil, speaking in Sangli.
While remarking that Kakasaheb Shinde’s [Maratha agitation activist] suicide was tragic, he asked whether it would help resolve the knotty affair of reservation for the Maratha community
“Our [the BJP-Sena] govt. is ready for discussions. But the issue of reservation is now in the hands of the Bombay High Court. What is the point of agitating for something which is not in the State govt.’s control?” Mr. Shinde said.
upport for ‘bandh’ in Sangli district, total shutdown in Beed
The ‘bandh’ is also seeing overwhelming support in Sangli district, with thousands of Maratha community youths on the streets, demanding immediate quota implementation and castigating Fadnavis govt for tardiness
There are some major traffic snarls in Jamkhed tehsil in Ahmednagar due to roadblocks, while there is a total shutdown in Beed and Osmanabad districts in Marathwada. Both government as well as private establishments downed shutters in response to the ‘bandh’ call. The bus stops in Beed wear a desolate look as 400-odd State buses are stranded sans passengers.
Another youth attempts suicide
Two cases of attempted suicide in Aurangabad district’s Devgaon Rangari village by agitators clamouring for Maratha reservation — a 31-year-old man identified as Guddu Sonawane jumps into a stream, while Jagannath Sonawane, a 60-year-old agitator tried to take his own life by consuming poison
State Transport buses along the Pune – Aurangabad route have been cancelled in wake of the intensity of the protest.
According to reports, nearly 60 Maharashtra State Transport buses have damaged or torched by irate protestors in the last three days
Keeping in mind the inconveniences to the lakhs of ‘warkaris’ (devotees) stranded in the temple town of Pandharpur (in Solapur district) on the occasion of Ashadhi Ekadashi , the Morcha has called for activists not to disrupt public transport in western Maharashtra districts and cities, namely Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Pune.
Fadnavis forced to cancel temple visit
After the Maratha Kranti Morcha’s warning that it would not permit Maharashtra Chief Minister to hold prayers in Pandharpur, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday said he had cancelled his July 23 visit to the temple town in view of the safety of lakhs of devotees gathered on ashadhi ekadashi.
“I have decided to cancel my engagement bearing in mind the security of 10 lakh warkaris present in Pandharpur. For several years, it has become a custom for the CM to perform pooja. I have been going there for the last three years. But some organisation has objected to it this year for certain reasons. However, its method of seeking their demands by holding the warkaris hostage is improper,” Mr. Fadnavis said in Mumbai.
Kakasaheb Shinde (27) jumped into the Godavari river to protest increasing delays by the government in announcing a reservation quota for the Maratha community. Lifeguards pulled Mr. Shinde out and took him to a civic hospital nearby, where he was declared ‘dead before admission’.
The suicide sparked furious reactions from the Marathas, who refused to accept his body. Agitators staged a rasta roko on the Aurangabad highway on Monday, vandalised several vehicles including government ones.
Protesters also demanded a criminal case be filed against Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in the incident, and demanded ₹50 lakh as compensation for the deceased’s family.