Pro-reservation outfits of Maratha community burn a vehicle after a clash with the police personnel in Kaygaon village at Aurangabad (Source: PTI)

Maratha Quota Stir Turns Violent; Call Given For Mumbai Bandh On Wednesday

A constable died and another was injured in stone pelting as a state-wide protest called by outfits seeking reservation for the Maratha community turned violent with agitators classing with police and torching vehicles in Aurangabad and adjoining districts of Maharashtra.

With the stir for reservation in jobs and education intensifying, the Maratha Kranti Morcha, which is spearheading the agitation, also decided to call for a Mumbai bandh on July 25.

The outfit had called for today’s Maharashtra bandh after the death of a protester yesterday during a protest march in favour of reservations. Twenty seven year-old Kakasaheb Shinde, had jumped off a bridge over Godavari river in Aurangabad. He was rushed to a hospital where he was declared dead. Another protestor, 31-year-old Jagannath Sonawane from Aurangabad district, today sought to emulate Shinde's example by jumping onto a dry river bed. He has been admitted to a government hospital in Aurangabad, police said

Quotas for Marathas, a politically influential community that constitutes around 30 percent of the state’s population, has been a hugely contentious issue.

Shinde’s death has triggered a fresh set of protests in several parts of Maharashtra. Internet services were suspended in rural areas of Aurangabad district to prevent any untoward incident. At Kaygaon, protesters shouted slogans hailing Shinde as a martyr, police said.

Sham Atgaonkar, a police constable from Osmanabad who was deployed on duty at Kaygaon, died soon after a commotion, which followed stone pelting, police said. The cause of death is not ascertained yet, police said. Another constable was injured in stone pelting, police said. A fire brigade van was also set afire at Kaygaon by the protesters, police said.

We will continue our agitation until Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis apologises to the Maratha community. We will observe bandh in Aurangabad and other parts of the state today
Morcha coordinator Ravindra Patil

Fadnavis had cancelled his visit to a temple in Pandharpur after protesting Maratha outfits threatened to disrupt the event.

Community leaders earlier marched in several rallies in various districts to highlight their demands. Last year, a huge rally was organised by the Maratha Kranti Morcha in this connection in Mumbai.

Despite assurances from Fadnavis to fulfil the demands, nothing concrete has been done so dar, community leaders have claimed. At a meeting here in Dadar, the Morcha leaders today decided to call for a Mumbai bandh tomorrow. At another meeting of the Sakal Maratha Samaj in adjoining Vashi, it was decided to call for a bandh tomorrow in Navi Mumbai and Panvel as well.

Also read: Quota Politics By Marathas, Patidars And Jats Is About Economics of Agriculture