Maharashtra bandh updates:
The day-long Maharashtra bandh announced by Marathas ended at 5 pm on Thursday, with incidents of violence reported from some areas of the state. Despite appeals by the organisers, the Maratha-sponsored Maharashtra shutdown turned violent in many parts of the state with incidents of arson, road blocks and clashes with police before it ended on Thursday evening, officials said.
There were road blocks on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, Mumbai-Goa Highway, Mumbai-Nashik Highway and the old Mumbai-Pune Highway which remained practically traffic-free due to the shutdown.
Activists climbed on the walls of the Pune Collectorate building, induled in stone-pelting and attempted to stop mediapersons from reporting the protests. Though exempt from the shutdown, many schools and colleges in the state remained shut as students and teachers could not reach on time owing to the agitation.
The shutdown was called in some places by singing the National Anthem.
The day-long bandh in Mumbai, Maharashtra had affected lives of commoners even as police initially claiming there was no untoward incident reported across the state. However, internet services were suspended, bus services hit in Pune. Mumbai also witnessed protests which were by and large peaceful so far. Airlines such as IndiGo and Jet Airway issued their travel advisories keeping in mind the day-long Maharashtra bandh. While bus services have been hit in Pune, supply of vegetables has been hit due the Mumbai bandh. This was the second such agitation to take place in less than one month.
Maratha groups, have been seeking reservation for the community in government jobs and educational institutions, has started. The protest is being organised notwithstanding the assurance given by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who announced last month that his government was working on the issue and would take a decision based on legal provisions.
Fadnavis had sought time till November to take steps with regard to the quota. However, the protesting groups have been demanding 16 per cent reservation for Marathas, a community that constitutes around 30 per cent of the state’s population. Last month, the community members had started observing a peaceful protests. However, the agitation later turned violent after a youth jumped to his death in Godavari river near Aurangabad on July 23.
This time, security had been tightened in various parts of the state to check recurrence of large-scale violence and arson which were witnessed last month. Six companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF), one company each of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) have been deployed by the state government at sensitive locations.