Maharashtra Bandh: Protesters were seen attacking a fire vehicle and toppling it at Aurangabad.
Mumbai: Violent protests have erupted in parts of Maharashtra over the Maratha community's demand for quota in government jobs and education. The protests escalated after a man jumped into the river in Aurangabad on Monday. Calling the death "unfortunate", Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today 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.
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Protesters were seen attacking a fire vehicle and toppling it at Aurangabad. Tyres were burnt in front of a government office in Osmanabad and trains were blocked in Parbhani district. Protests were also reported from Sangli and Shirdi in Ahmednagar district.
The Maratha Kranti Morcha has given a statewide shutdown call to protest against the death of the 28-year-old farmer yesterday and have demanded Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis' apology. Shiv Sena lawmaker Chandrakant Khaire was manhandled by protesters in Aurangabad when he had gone to attend the last rites of the farmer.
"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.
This morning, a second protester made a suicide attempt by jumping off a bridge in Aurangabad and was seriously injured.
Some Maratha groups are also planning to take their protest to Mumbai.The Maratha Kranti Morcha had yesterday demanded an apology from Mr Fadnavis for alleging that some members from the community were planning violence during his visit to a temple at Pandharpur town in Solapur district on 'Ashadhi Ekadashi'.
The Chief Minister had said on Sunday that he was cancelling his visit over threats by protesting Maratha outfits to disrupt the event. "Violence and lawlessness will get us nowhere and we are trying to find a solution. I invite the protesters to come to Mumbai and discuss the issue with the Chief Minister to find a viable solution," said Chandrakant Patil, a senior minister from the Maratha community.
In the last few days, protests have also taken place in Buldhana, Akola, Parali, Washim and even in Mumbai.
The Marathas, a politically influential community that constitutes around 30 per cent of the state's population, have been campaigning for quotas in government jobs and education.
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.