An activist advocating for reservation for the Maratha community tragically took his own life by hanging in Mumbai. The deceased, identified as 45-year-old Sunil Kawale, hailed from Chikangaon in Ambad tehsil of Jalna district but had been residing in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar for approximately 15 years with his family. He worked as a driver, while his wife was a homemaker, and their daughter had recently been married. His son, who had completed his education, had lost his job about a month ago, which had left Sunil deeply worried and in a state of depression.
Sunil had been an active participant in the Maratha reservation agitation initiated by Manoj Jarange Patil at Antarwali Sarati in Jalna district back in August. He had travelled to Mumbai on Tuesday for some personal work, as conveyed by his family members. On Wednesday, he contacted his family to inquire about their well-being, subsequently sending a message on a WhatsApp group along with a suicide note. In his message, he expressed his belief that everyone from the Maratha community should engage in the reservation agitation, considering it a fight for their rights.
News of Sunil's demise shook Chhatrapati Sambhajingar on Thursday morning, leaving his family and relatives in deep distress. Local leaders and prominent figures paid visits to his home to offer their condolences and support to the grieving family. The entire Rajnagar area witnessed an outpouring of political leaders and activists.
Residents living nearby revealed that Sunil had persistently emphasised the importance of securing reservations for the Maratha community, encouraging others to actively partake in the agitation. Nevertheless, his decision to take his own life came as a shock to those who knew him.
Upon receiving the news, demonstrations were held in various locations throughout the city during the night. The police intensified security measures in response. Activists congregated at the Chhatrapati Sambhaji statue in TV Centre Chowk, voicing demands for the government to expedite the granting of reservations.