Pune/Mumbai: In the wake of statewide ‘bandh’ called by Maratha Kranti Morcha over the reservation issue on Thursday, internet and state bus services have been suspended in several districts as a precautionary measure. Internet services have been suspended in seven tehsils of Pune district, namely Shirur, Khed, Baramati, Junnar, Maval, Daund and Bhor.
Buses of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation are also not plying on the roads in Pune, while petrol pumps and vegetable markets are closed as well. mAs a result, security arrangements have also been tightened all over Maharashtra in order to maintain law and order.
Superintendent of Police, Pune (Rural) Sandip Patil said, “2200 policemen, 900 home guards, three State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) coy, one Rapid Action Force (RAF) company, 20 striking platoons have been deployed at Pune ahead of statewide protest called by Maratha Kranti Morcha over demand for Maratha Reservation, tomorrow.” Meanwhile, protests in this regard were also carried out in various other parts of the state.
Son of former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Amit Deshmukh protested in Latur district of the state, raising slogans against the government. Even though Mumbai is not participating in the ‘bandh’, the protesters carried out a peaceful protest outside the Collector Office in Bandra. The protesters tied black ribbons around their mouths and some around their eyes, to depict that the administration needs to wake up.
In Washim district, state schools, colleges and markets have been shut down due to the ‘bandh’. Meanwhile, a huge mob also carried out a protest outside the Collector Office in Pune. Reports of violence have emerged from Pune, Latur, Aurangabad, and Ahmednagar districts of the state. A city bus has been vandalised in Laxmi Nagar area of Pune, while roads have been jammed in Aurangabad, causing severe traffic jam and inconvenience to the commuters.
In Nagpur, women of the Maratha community burnt effigies during the protests and also threw stones at shops. Although Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, and Thane did not participate in the ‘bandh’, keeping in view of the ruckus of the previous protests, most of the shops remained shut down in the area. No buses were plying from Vandana and Khopat bus depot in Thane.
On August 6, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed the issue with him. The Maratha Kranti Morcha has been agitating across the state demanding reservation in government jobs and education.
The major demands of the morcha are – decision on the Maratha quota at the earliest, all cases against Maratha protesters be taken back, action against the officers responsible for firing and lathi charge during the state-wide protest on July 25, resignation or sacking of ministers and MLAs who gave irresponsible statements against the Maratha community. Besides reservation, the Maratha outfits have also been demanding loan waiver, justice in Kopardi rape case and a solution to unemployment in their community.