[Aurangabad: Maratha Kranti Morcha workers continue their protest over death of a person who died after jumping off a bridge into Godavari river yesterday during 'jal samadhi agitation' in the district for reservation for Maratha community in govt jobs and education. #Maharashtra. (ANI Photo)]
Mumbai/Aurangabad: Violent protests are reported from different parts of Maharashtra during the Maratha community's statewide bandh called a day after a man demanding reservation for the community jumped to his death in a river in Aurangabad district.
A pro-reservation Maratha leader said they have called the bandh across the state on Tuesday and that they would continue their agitation until Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis apologises to the community.
"We will continue our agitation until Chief Minister Fadnavis apologises to the Maratha community. We will observe bandh in Aurangabad and other parts of the state today," Ravindra Patil, the coordinator of a pro-reservation group of Marathas, said.
28-year-old Kakasaheb Shinde, a farmer who was participating in the protests, jumped off a bridge into the Godavari River near Aurangabad. He was rushed to a hospital where he was declared dead, police said.
On Tuesday, a second protester made a suicide attempt by jumping off a bridge in Aurangabad and was seriously injured.
Declaring to take their protest to Mumbai, Maratha Kranti Samaj announced that the organisation plans to observe a "peaceful" bandh on Wednesday as well. The organisation said Thane, Navi Mumbai and Raigad will be shutdown on Wednesday. "Schools and colleges will not be included in this bandh as we do not intend to trouble anyone," the organisation said.
Earlier, Internet service was suspended in Aurangabad after violent protests by Marathas. Locals in the city attacked the vehicle of Shiv Sena MP Chandrakant Khaire, who went to attend the funeral of the youth who jumped to his death in a river on Monday.
"Maratha Kranti Morcha workers set a truck ablaze in Aurangabad's Gangapur during their protest, demanding reservation for Maratha community in govt jobs and education", ANI reported.
Protests were also reported from Sangli and Shirdi in Ahmednagar district. Television footage showed tyres being burnt in front of a government office in Osmanabad and trains being blocked in Parbhani district.
Angry over delay in granting them reservation and death of their youth, Maratha protesters are also demanding resignation of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for his "insulting" remarks made on Sunday.
“Fadnavis had said that some of our people might release snakes among devotees in Pandharpur and might pelt stones. This remark has triggered the violence on Monday. We have held 58 silent morchas in the past and have never resorted to such tactics. The insulting remarks have angered the community,” said Virendra Pawar, a morcha leader.
In the last few days, protests have take place in Buldhana, Akola, Parali, Washim and even in Mumbai.
Quotas for Marathas, a politically influential community that constitutes around 30 per cent of the state's population, has been a hugely contentious issue. The community leaders had earlier taken out 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, according to PTI.
Meanwhile, calling the death of Maratha youth "unfortunate", Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday appealed for calm and said the government was serious about a resolution. Internet services were suspended in rural areas of Aurangabad as a preventive measure.
Minister of State Deepak Kesarkar also appealed to people to maintain peace by peaceful dialogue. "15 lakh pilgrims are in Pandharpur for Wari, they should not face problems in going back to their homes," said Kesarkar.
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