Maharashtra: A day after an agitation for Maratha reservation in Jalna turned violent and protesters clashed with police, cases were filed against at least 360 agitators on Saturday while political leaders as well as leaders from the Maratha community appealed protesters to continue agitation in peaceful means. However, the violence continued in the district and the agitation spread across the state, as there were widespread protests in various districts across the state throughout the day.
A truck was burnt down, allegedly by the protesters, in Ambad on Saturday. A few other vehicles too were destroyed. In Jalna city agitators protested the state government. Fresh incidents of stone pelting too were reported during ‘Rasta Roko’ call given by the protesters in the city. The police had to fire rubber bullets in air and use tear gas to dispurse the violent mob. One of the protesters burnt down his own vehicle to protest the government atrocities in Aurangabad district. All these incidents resulted in MSRTC restricting ST bus services in four districts. The ST services in parts of Jalna, Ahmednagar, Solapur and Nandurbar have been restricted to prevent them from being targeted by the protestors, officials said on Saturday.
On Friday, the police had to resort to firing tear gas shells and lathicharge following a clash with the protesters. While around 20 protesters were injured during the clash at Antarwali Sarati village in Ambad tehsil, the police claimed as many as 37 police personnel were injured, including an additional SP as the protesters pelted stones and torched four police vehicles.
According to the police, the incident took place between 6 pm and 8 pm on Friday.
“While the officials had reached the spot of the protests to pursue the agitators on hunger strike to shift to hospital for medical treatment, the protesters suddenly turned violent and started pelting stones at us injuring some of our personnel. Many protesters also sustained injuries,” an officer said, adding that 37 policemen, including an additional SP and two deputy SPs and 32 constables.
“Four private vehicles belonging to the policemen were also torched by the protesters,” the officer said.
The protesters, however, have accused the police of starting the lathicharge all of a sudden even as the protests were going on peacefully.
“I’ve injuries on my head. There must have been at least 1200 DRP and 200 police personnel who attacked us,” one of the injured protesters who was admitted to the hospital told NCP supremo Sharad Pawar when he visited them at the hospital on Saturday.
NCP state President Jayant Patil too was with Sharad Pawar, while Shiv Sena (UBT) President and ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray along with Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Council Ambadas Danve, and Congress’ ex-CM Ashok Chavan reached there in the evening. BJP Rajyasabha MP Chhatrapati Udayan Raje Bhosale and former MP Sambhaji Raje Bhosale had reached the agitation site earlier in the day.
There were widespread protests also across the state to condemn the police atrocities against Maratha agitators in Jalna. Road blocks, protest demonstrations, processions, etc. were organized in Nashik, Lasur-Gangapur highway, Buldhana, Navi Mumbai, Nagpur, Solapur, Beed, Sangli and other places. Shutdown call was issued for Nandurbar, but later withdrawn and a similar call was given for Beed even as the police have deployed tight security across all sensitive regions.