MUMBAI: The Maratha quota stir escalated on Monday when at least two people committed suicide amid reports of highways being blocked and markets being forced to shut down at several places across Maharashtra.
At Chakan near Pimpri-Chinchwad in Pune district, several buses were burnt by the protestors and prohibitory orders were imposed as the mob targeted the police.
Some Maratha organisations had given a call for a bandh today in Chakan area and a rally was carried out.
Quick Response Teams have been moved to the violence affected area, police said.
A 35-year-old man allegedly committed suicide by jumping in front of a moving train in Chakan over the Maratha quota demand, police said today. Some police personnel sustained injuries in the stone pelting by the agitators, a polic officer said.
The man, identified as Pramod Jaising Hore, had posted a message on his Facebook page and shared a message on WhatsApp yesterday, saying he would be ending his life in support of the reservation demand, Mukundwadi police station's Senior Inspector Natha Jadhav told PTI.
Even though the coordinators of Maratha Kranti Morcha and Sakal Maratha Samaj—the umbrella bodies spearheading the agitation —had announced reviving the agitation after August 1, protests started at several places since morning after two men committed suicide. While one person hanged himself to death in Nanded, the other jumped in front of a train in Aurangabad.
Protestors in Solapur blocked the Pune-Solapur highway and pelted stones at state transport buses forcing the Pandharpur depot to suspend all services.
At Chakan, protestors torched at least six buses on the Pune-Nashik. Police lobbed teargas shells and fired in the air to control the mob, officials said.
Protestors targeted the police personnel and their vehicles. Ganpatrao Madgulkar, DSP, Pune (rural) was injured when the mob attacked his vehicle. He has been admitted to the hospital, officials added. As the agitators outnumbered police, prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC were imposed. Extra forces were rushed to help the police.
Not on the sidelines
In Maharashtra, Marathas comprise 31% of the population. Interestingly, Marathas have dominated the political landscape of the western state as it has given the maximum numbers of chief ministers.
(With inputs from Online Desk, PTI)