MUMBAI: The suicide toll in the ongoing Maratha reservations stir climbed to four with a young science graduate ending his life in Beed district on Tuesday afternoon, officials said.
According to police, Abhijeet Deshmukh hanged himself from a tree outside his home Veera village, citing various reasons in a suicide note recovered later.
In the note recovered from his shirt, he mentioned that he was resorting to the extreme step owing to the delays in the Maratha reservations, outstanding bank loans and debts, and lack of money to buy medicines for his ailing family members.
Deshmukh said that though he had graduated in science, he remained jobless and his family could not repay the loans taken from a bank for his education.
He had reportedly confided to a friend that owing to lack of quotas for Marathas, he had failed to get a job as well as business loans on account of the previous unpaid loans which had piled up.
In another development, eight activists of the Maratha Kranti Morcha attempted mass suicide by dousing themselves with petrol near the Ausa tehsildar office in Latur district, adjoining Beed.
However, police rushed to the scene and after a struggle managed to whisk them off to safety even as a large number of activists continued their protests there.
Soon after news of Deshmukh's suicide spread, a large number of people and local Maratha activists thronged the Beed hospital where his body was kept.
His suicide came a day after a 37-year-old man, Pramod Hore-Patil, killed himself by jumping before a running train near Mukundwadi in Aurangabad on Tuesday.
Earlier, two others - Kakasaheb D. Shinde and Vishwanath Sonawane - also committed suicide at the height of the Maratha reservations agitation last week.
While Shinde jumped into the Godavari on July 23 and could not be saved, Sonawane consumed poison on July 24 and succumbed in a hospital the following day.
Reacting sharply to the ongoing political developments, the Maharashtra Congress on Tuesday demanded that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis "resign forthwith for losing the peoples' confidence".
Speaking to the media, state Congress chief Ashok Chavan accused Fadnavis of resorting to lies and despite a Z-plus security cover running away from the Maratha agitators.
"The government must specify when the Special Legislature Session will be convened. We have spoken to the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission which has said it will take around three months to complete the Marathas' survey. But the government's stand on this is contradictory," Chavan said.
Chavan's comments came even as various Maratha groups threatened to launch a state-wide 'jail-bharo' agitation from August 1 including in Mumbai, followed by massive processions all over Maharashtra on August 9, the August Kranti Day, to press for their quotas.
Since the past nearly 10 days, Maharashtra, including Mumbai, has been rocked by violent protests with incidents of arson, road and rail blockades, attacks on police with retaliatory action, blamed on Maratha groups seeking reservations.