Maratha quota stir: Youth plunges into river as part of agitation; dies

Though political leaders have appealed the Maratha community to exercise restraint, the community leaders have blamed the state government for the death.

Published: 23rd July 2018 09:31 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd July 2018 09:31 PM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

MUMBAI: The Maratha quota stir in Maharashtra is likely to intensify. After death of a young agitator who plunged into river as part of the 'Jalsamadhi' agitation at Aurangabad, the agitators have resorted to blocking roads.

Though political leaders have appealed the Maratha community to exercise restraint, the community leaders have blamed the state government for the death. The 'Maratha Kranti Morcha' had organized "Jalsamadhi" agitation at Gangapur near Aurangabad on Monday at around 3 pm.

Though police could prevent other agitators from plunging into the river, Kakasaheb Shinde (27) from Kanadgaon escaped the barricading and jumped from the bridge into the river. He didn't know swimming and was drowned in the river that had swelled due to recent rains. The police and other agitators were successful in pulling him out.

However, he died during treatment at the government hospital in Aurangabad. When the agitators learnt of Shinde's death, they blocked the Aurangabad-Ahmednagar road demanding resignation of Chief Minister Fadnavis.

In the evening, Shinde's family members refused to take his body making the situation worse. The Maratha community that had already resorted to "Thok" (hit) Morcha agitation at several places across the state since last week is likely to intensify the 'aggressive' mode of agitation. While there are reports of call for 'sit in' agitation at several places including Aurangabad, Beed, Latur and Kolhapur, a call for huge rally too has been given.

The Maratha community leaders have been demanding suspension of state government's mega recruitment till final decision on Maratha quota. The government has ignored their demands after peaceful agitations two years back and hence now agitations need to be more 'aggressive', the community had decided. But, the agitation had gone violent at some places with incidences of vehicles being vandalized.

The community members had been on a sit-in agitation at Osmanabad since 9 am on Monday. They are likely to continue with the agitation tomorrow, while in Jalna a call for complete shutdown has been given. While death procession of the government would be taken out in Jalna, the traffic is likely to be blocked in Nanded, the agitators have said.

The agitators in Parli of Beed district are continuing with their 'sit-in' agitation. Around 25 activists of Maratha Kranti Morcha were arrested at Chinchwad near Pune in the morning where Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis laid foundation for memorial of Chapekar brothers, the revolutionaries of the freedom struggle.

The agitators had resorted to protests against Fadnavis, blaming him of misleading the community on quota issue. A women agitators too was visked away from the CM's program at the venue allegedly for shouting slogans against him. Meanwhile, Fadnavis on Monday skipped the customary official 'Pooja' of Lord Vithal at Pandharpur on the auspicious occasion of 'Ashadhi Ekadashi'.

The Maratha community had warned severe agitation against him had he tried to enter Pandharpur today. He performed the pooja at his official residence Varsha at Mumbai in the morning before going to Chinchwad. However, another Maratha organization Sambhaji Brigade demanded that CM Fadnavis apologize to the Maratha community for blaming the community for alleged stampede threats at Pandharpur. Opponents like the Congress and the MNS condemned CM Fadnavis for discontinuing the tradition.

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