Mumbai: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister Devendra Fadnavis warned of stern action against the violence in the name of Maratha quota stir on Tuesday even as he said the government won't take any action against the peaceful protests.
The DCM also said that at places certain political leaders have been identified to instigate violence. Video evidence regarding such incidents are being collected and stern action will be taken against such perpetrators of violence, he said.
About 55 people have been identified for violence in Beed: Fadnavis
After the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Fadnavis interacted with the media and shared information on decisions regarding violent incidents during the protests. "Cases under IPC 307 (attempted murder) will be filed against those who torched houses when families were inside. About 55 people have been identified and police will take stern action," Fadnavis said while referring to incidents of arson at Beed.
"The government is committed to give reservation to the Maratha community. But, certain people are taking advantage of the protests and spreading violence. At Beed houses and offices of people's representatives were attacked. A specific community was targeted. Shops were burnt. The state government has taken a serious note of all these things. If attempts are being made to vandalize someone's property and kill people under the name of agitation, the police won't be mute spectators," Fadnavis added.
He also stated that action won't be taken against any peaceful protest. People have full right to peaceful agitations. But, there is no space for violence.
"We have called in additional forces and deployed them at various places. The police action should continue till all the perpetrators are nabbed and peace is established," Fadnavis said.
Curfew imposed in Dharashiv district
Meanwhile, curfew was imposed in Dharashiv district on Tuesday following outbreaks of violence amidst the continuing protests for the Maratha reservation. On Monday curfew was imposed in Beed after protesters indulged in arson and vandalism to target the residences of two NCP MLAs and a municipal council building. Police arrested 49 individuals linked to the unrest in Beed. The situation is currently under control, Beed Superintendent of Police Nandkumar Thakur said.
"Offences for rioting and putting lives in danger have been lodged in connection with the incidents. So far, 49 agitators have been arrested. There was no untoward incident at night, and the situation is under control," he said.
Hours after the incident at Beed, a BJP office in Hingoli was set on fire. Two to three unknown persons walked into the party office and set it on fire before fleeing. Security guards and police immediately took action and doused the fire, BJP workers said. According to primary information, it was part of the ongoing protests carried out in support of the Maratha reservation. Fortunately nobody was involved, the party officials said.
In Pune, the Maratha Kranti Morcha (MKM) on Tuesday denied that it has given a call for a Pune bandh and said that it has asked the community to hold agitations in a peaceful manner and not resort to any extreme steps.
Mumbai-Bengaluru highway blocked for two hours
The Mumbai-Bengaluru Highway was blocked by the protestors for two hours on Tuesday afternoon, causing a massive traffic jam. The mob is not ready to back down, as the jam prevails on both sides.
Another group of Maratha Kranti Morcha workers blocked the railway tracks in Solapur. Visuals of the agitation showed protestors burning tires on the railway tracks, holding saffron flags, demanding reservation for the Maratha community.
Railway officials and Solapur City Police detained two protesters, identified as Ram Jadhav and Nishant Salve in the matter. The officials managed to get the protesters off the railway tracks, even as the protests continued.
Panchayat samiti office set on fire in Jalna
In Jalna district, a group of people set ablaze a panchayat samiti office during a protest. Supporters chanting "Ek Maratha Lakh Maratha" reached the panchayat samiti office at Ghansawangi in the district on Monday night and vandalised property by setting it on fire. Some important documents and furniture in two rooms of the office were damaged, an official from Ghansawangi police station said.
In another incident in Jalna, some youth from the Maratha community tried to block trains at a railway gate in Shelgaon village of Badnapur tehsil on Monday afternoon. The protesters sat on the railway tracks in a bid to disrupt train services.
A mob of Maratha agitators had also gathered outside the residence of NCP (Ajit pawar faction) leader Amarsingh Pandit and police fired tear-gas shells to disperse them.
Prohibitory action in Beed and Jalna
The violence during Maratha protests at various places across the state made the Jalna district administration to enforce prohibitory measures on Tuesday. The administration has shut down internet services in the district for two days. The Beed district administration had taken a similar decision on Monday after the violence and arson, where a curfew too has been imposed.
The violence in Marathwada has hit the state transport services also. While over 70 buses in Beed district alone have been vandalized, services from Nagpur and Pune to various parts of Marathwada too have been suspended. The MSRTC is said to have incurred over Rs 4 crore of losses on account of the vandalism as at least 85 buses have been vandalized badly forcing shut down of hundreds of routes, officials said here on Tuesday.
Karnataka stops bus services to Maharashtra
Meanwhile, sensing the trouble the Karnataka road transport corporation announced cancellation of all services to Maharashtra on Tuesday.
Ban on politicians to continue
Maratha leader Manoj Jarange Patil, meanwhile, urged people to "not get aggressive." However, he asked them to "continue the chain hunger strike as much as possible." He also stated that the ban on politicians entering villages will persist. Expressing appreciation for the resignations of MLAs and MPs in support of the cause of Maratha reservation, Jarange Patil assured that the community will remember and value the steps taken by these officials. Jarange Patil also alleged that the arson is being carried out by individuals affiliated with the ruling parties.