Mumbai: Maratha activists held a ‘jail bharo’ protest here today, demanding immediate implementation of reservations in jobs and education for the community. Pro-quota groups led by the Maratha Kranti Morcha organised the ‘jail bharo’ agitation at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai while local groups in some parts of the state also held similar protests.
Rail and road traffic in the city wasn’t affected by the Maratha community protest today, an official said here. Adequate security arrangements have been made in the state in view of the ongoing protests, police said. “We have lost confidence in Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his hollow assurances of offering reservation to Maratha community,” said Kedar Shinde, a protester at Azad Maidan.
A group of Maratha community members also staged an agitation outside the residence of state Labour Minister Sambhaji Patil-Nilangekar in Latur district. Protesters blocked a portion of the Pune-Solapur National Highway in north Solapur, police said. Protests were also held at Junnar in Pune district. Rallies were held in Shirur and Khed tehsils in Pune district.
Farmers from Hingoli district in Marathwada region, the hub of most of the aggressive protests, organised a bullock-cart march to demand quota for the community. The Maratha community is around 30 per cent of the states 12 crore population. Since the last 10 days, their protests have turned violent.
Their demands include 50 per cent reservation in jobs and education, implementation of the capital punishment given to accused in the Kopardi rape case and amending the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act to prevent its misuse.
So far six people have committed suicide in the state due to the ongoing agitation. A 35-year-old farm labourer was found hanging by a tree near his house in Beed district yesterday. Also yesterday, eight demonstrators tried to set themselves on fire in Latur district, but police foiled their attempt.