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MH-MARATHA-3RD LD BANDH


PTI 09 Aug 2018, 03:56 PM India

The pro-quota bandh called by some

Maratha groups today was marked by sporadic violence and

arson, disruption of road traffic and rallies in various parts

of Maharashtra.

The day-long agitation began on a relatively peaceful

note in the morning but turned violent in the afternoon.

Marathas, a politically influential community that

constitutes around 30 per cent of the state's population, have

been demanding 16 per cent reservation in government jobs and

education.

Violence and arson was witnessed today despite the appeal

by the Maratha community leaders for carrying out the protests

in a peaceful manner.

The Maratha groups organised the bandh despite the

assurance by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis that his

government was working on providing reservation in a legally

sustainable manner.

Pune was one of the worst hit by today's agitation, with

a mob vandalising property at the district collectorate and

violence being witnessed at some other places.

Authorities had ordered closure of schools and colleges

and suspended internet services in Pune to prevent rumour-

mongering.

Plants of many companies also remained shut.

"According to my information, the main gate of the

administrative building and the security cabin's glass were

damaged," Collector Naval Kishor Ram said.

According to sources, the protesters also damaged some

light bulbs in the premises.

Authorities had taken precautions to prevent any untoward

incident and suspended internet services in seven tehsils of

the district to check rumour-mongering.

In the evening, some miscreants resorted to stone pelting

at the police in Chandni Chowk area of Pune.

"After the agitation, some anti-social elements started

pelting stones at the police and even tried to block the

Mumbai-Bengaluru Highway," Shivaji Bodkhe, joint commissioner

of police (law and order) of Pune police said.

"When the policemen tried to stop them from blocking the

highway, they started pelting stones, prompting the police to

chase them and resort to mild lathi charge in order to

disperse them," he said.

He said the police was in the process of detaining all

such people who are "not agitators but miscreants".

"The vehicular traffic on the highway has been resumed

now and the situation is under control," he said.

Chakan, an industrial hub about 40 kms from Pune which

saw violence on July 30 during a similar agitation, remained

peaceful, the police said.

In Aurangabad city, a mob pelted stones on the police and

set ablaze four vehicles, including a police vehicle, the

police said.

Some industrial units in the area were also targeted by

the mob, he said.

The police lobbed tear gas shells on the protesters and

tried to disperse the mob, he said.

Two groups of protesters clashed when someone allegedly

shouted slogans against Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at

Kranti Chowk in Aurangabad district, a police official said.

"One person was injured in the incident but we brought

the situation under control. We separated the two groups and

dispersed their members," a police official said.

The internet service in some parts of the city was

temporarily suspended for some time, the official said.

In Hingoli district of Marathwada, the protesters torched

a godown of the Panchayat Samitee in Sengaon area, an official

said.

The protesters also created road blockades and staged

sit-in protests in Hingoli city and rural area, he said.

The violent protesters vandalised a toll plaza at Manvat

in Parbhani district, he said.

A railway gateman was thrashed by the protesters at

Purna railway station, he said.

In Latur, Congress MLA Trimbakrao Bhise faced the ire of

Maratha protesters, who surrounded him pushed him away, police

said.

Protesters targeted the former chief minister Ashok

Chavan-controlled Satyaprabha newspaper in Nanded. They broke

window panes of the office, police said.

A mob approached the newspaper office and pelted stones

at it, they said.

Stones were also allegedly pelted at the office of

another Marathi daily Pudhari, located in the same area,

police said.

Protesters held a sit-in outside the residence of NCP

chief Sharad Pawar in Baramati tehsil of Pune, and were joined

by his nephew Ajit Pawar in support of the Maratha community's

demand for reservation in government jobs and education.

Protesters halted buses and other vehicles on roads in

Latur, Jalna, Solapur and Buldhana districts. They blocked the

Madha-Shetfal road, which connects to National Highway No. 9

(Pune-Hyderabad) in Solapur district, officials said.

Some agitators burnt tyres on roads in Jalna and

Ahmednagar districts, a police official said.

The call for bandh was given by Sakal Maratha Samaj, an

umbrella body of Maratha groups, but excluded Navi Mumbai,

which had witnessed large-scale violence last month during

protests by the community.

Though Navi Mumbai has been excluded from the bandh,

the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) at Turbhe in

the densely populated township decided to remain shut today.

Security was stepped up in Navi Mumbai, with

deployment of city police personnel along with a company of

the Rapid Action Force and the Reserve Police Force.

The public transport buses and local trains were

running normal in the town. Heavy security was deployed on the

Mumbai-Pune Expressway and Mumbai-Goa Highway near Kalamboli,

a police official said.

Even though Maratha groups excluded essential services

from the purview of the bandh, supply of vegetables was

affected in some parts of the state, including Mumbai, APMC

officials said.

A traffic department official said the number of

vehicles on National Highway number four (Mumbai-Pune) and on

the Mumbai-Pune Expressway was significantly less compared to

other days.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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