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Maratha quotas: Fresh violence in Maharashtra, one more suicide


IANS Mumbai
Fresh violence with arson, roadblocks, attacks on police and shutdowns rocked several parts of Maharashtra over the demands for Maratha reservations while one person committed suicide by jumping under a running train here on Monday.
Large areas of Chakan in Pune and surroundings, Osmanabad, Solapur, Kolhapur, Nandurbar and Aurangabad witnessed sporadic incidents of arson, violence, road blocks and noisy processions on foot and on motorcyles, with prohibitory orders clamped in many police station areas.
In Aurangabad, Pramod Hore Patil committed suicide by jumping in front of a running train after making a post on Facebook. He ended his life sometime on Sunday, but his body was recovered on Monday near Mukundwadi railway station, resulting in a shutdown in parts of the district.
Over two dozen vehicles, including five state transport buses were torched or damaged as the Maratha agiation took a violent turn in Pune district's Chakan, Hinjewadi, Khed and the Pune-Nashik Highway today.
Angry protestors targeted the Chakan Police Station and in the resultant violence at least five policemen were injured, elsewhere in the town, three persons were hurt in stone-pelting incidents.
Police retaliated by firing teargas shells to quell the protestors and clamped prohibitory orders, while a total shutdown was observed in Chakan and other towns as all political parties appealed to the Maratha leaders for peace and restraint.
ST buses were also targeted in Solapur's Pandharpur pilgrim centre and adjourning Kolhapur since midnight on Sunday-Monday, forcing a precautionary suspension of all ST services for the day as roads were blocked by squatting activists and burning tyres.
Activists attempted to set afire some vehicles and ST buses in Nandurbar but were thwarted by police though some parts observed a shutdown.
Meanwhile, ruling ally Shiv Sena, and the Opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party held independent meetings with their legislators amidst at least eight MLAs quitting their seats to press for Maratha quotas.
The Shiv Sena is likely to back the Bharatiya Janata Party on this specific issue and has urged the government to announce the quotas without waiting for the report of the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC), or disturbing the existing reservations.
Leader of Opposition in Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, of the Congress, has written to the Governor C. V. Rao, seeking his intervention between the agitating Marathas and the state government to end the violence and expeditiously resolve the pending quotas issue.
Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar has flayed the undue delays on the part of the government in announcing the quotas and demanded they do so without further delays.
Several Maratha groups have warned of intensifying the agitation from August 1, while the Dhangars community has also demanded their share of quotas by September 1 failing which they would launch an agitation.

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First Published: Jul 30 2018 | 7:18 PM IST

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