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State, city bandh evokes mixed response

Friday, August 10, 2018
By A Special Correspondent. Photograph by Trupti Arekar

Sporadic Violence Mars Maratha Kranti Morcha Agitation

The day-long Maharashtra and Mumbai bandh call given by Sakal Maratha Samaj and Maratha Kranti Thok Morcha yesterday evoked mixed response. The bandh call given to demand for reservation quota for the Maratha community was marred by sporadic incidents of violence in Pune, Latur, Hingoli, Nashik, Nagpur and Aurangabad. Although the bandh call failed to evoke any response in Mumbai, the faction led by Amol Jadhavrao claimed that in Mumbai too bandh was enforced in Borivali,Matunga, Dadar, Kurla, Ghatkopar, Chembur, Goregaon and other parts of the city. However, factions in Navi Mumbai and Thane withdrew fromthe strike and instead preferred to stage sit-in dharnas

The agitation in Pune turned violent as protestors vandalised the office of Pune district collector Navalkishore Ram. A faction of the protestors wanted the district collector to come down from his office and accept their memorandum. Enraged over the refusal of the district collector, the protestors climbed on the wall and smashed tubelights and even attacked news channel media crew. The district collector however refuted the contention of the agitators and argued that even after accepting their memorandum the protestors turned violent and ransacked the office.

Anticipating trouble, the administration  shut down Internet services in districts like Pune, Kolhapur, Sangli, Pandharpur and Aurangabad. Many schools in Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai and other parts of the state, as a precautionary measure, declared a holiday yesterday, though the government had not announced any holiday for schools and colleges. In Mumbai, Shiv Sena MLA from Kolhapur, Prakash Ambitkar staged a dharna at the gates of Vidhan Bhavan. In many places in Pune, the police used drones to keep a watch on the protestors.

In Walunj, near Aurangabad, the protestors set two private vehicles on fire and pelted stones. In a bid to control the mob the police resorted to firing teargas shells. In Chandani Chowk in Pune city the police had to resort to firing teargas shells and lathicharge as protestors turned violent. Anticipating trouble, the State Transport Corporation did not operate any of its services in the state. However, protestors targeted ST buses in Nashik. In Nashik two protesting groups clashed with each other after former legislator Manikrao Kokate arrived at the venue.

Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar came out of the Pawar family's residence in Baramati and briefly joined the squatting protestors.
Aurangabad district unit Sena chief Ambadas Danve was manhandled by the protestors after the latter appealed to the agitators not to raise slogans denouncing Sena president Uddhav Thackeray. In Nagpur, police in the nick of time, pulled away protestors who laid themselves before a speeding passenger train. In Beed, the protestors squatted on the roads and in protest had lunch.

In Madha, Solapur district the agitators blocked the road at Shilphata with burning tyres. In Hingoli, the agitation turned violent as protestors resorted to burning tyres, setting private vehicles on fire. A truck laden with coconuts enroute to Aurangabad was set on fire in Beed. Meanwhile, a farmer Dwarkanath Patil has filed a petition in Bombay High Court against the Maratha Morcha for damaging public property. The next hearing in the case is on August 13.

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