Mumbai, Oct 31 (SocialNews.XYZ) Maratha groups continued their protests for the third day across several districts in the state to press for reservation for the community here on Tuesday.
Alarmed by the spread of agitation, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has convened an all-party meeting in Mumbai on Wednesday to discuss and resolve the issue.
Maratha legislators from all political parties staged a protest near the Gandhi statue outside Mantralaya in Nariman Point and are likely to meet Governor Ramesh Bais later demanding a special legislature session to finalise the community quotas.
The great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Tushar A. Gandhi said that the Centre had very successfully engineered violence in New Delhi to scuttle the anti-CAA-NRC protests that had become a big embarrassment for the government.
“Now the same modus operandi has been employed in Maharashtra to defame and derail the Maratha reservation agitation,” said Tushar Gandhi sharply.
Another incident of arson on a government office was reported from Jalna where a village panchayat office was torched by some unknown persons raising pro-quota slogans.
Scores of Maratha activists lay down on the railway tracks in Solapur and blocked the passage of at least one long-distance train even as police attempted to clear the railway lines.
A local office of the Bharatiya Janata Party was set ablaze at Naiknagar in Hingoli district, while a large number of Maratha activists got down in a stream in Pune for a ‘jal-samadhi’ protest.
Public bus services remained shut for the second day in parts of Parbhani district and in Malkapur, Buldhana district, protestors smeared black paint on posters of the CM on a vehicle.
Scores of Marathas launched relay hunger strikes at Chunabhatti in Mumbai and Mungse village in Nashik district demanding immediate announcement of quotas.
Schools and colleges remained shut on Tuesday in Shevgaon, Ahmednagar district and students participated in the protests.
In Pune, protestors blocked the Pune-Bengaluru Highway by throwing burning truck tyres on the Navale Bridge and squatting on the road, raising anti-government slogans, as 10-km long traffic snarls developed on both sides of the important thoroughfare.
A large number of activists took out a symbolic ‘funeral’ procession of the state government in Tembhurni, Solapur district, while half a dozen services of the Nagpur-Pune sleeper bus services were suspended for the day.
In Beed, which was rocked by large-scale arson and violence on Monday, a Nationalist Congress Party (SP) activist Yogesh Kshirsagar alleged that the torching of his MLA brother Sandeep R. Kshirsagar was “a pre-planned conspiracy”.
“Before setting our house on fire, someone had snapped off the power supply here, the miscreants who indulged in stone-pelting were carrying bottles filled with petrol, and the police proved totally incapable of stopping them,” claimed Yogesh Kshirsagar.
The Shivba Sanghatana President Manoj Jarange-Patil, whose indefinite hunger strike entered the seventh day on Tuesday, again appealed to his supporters in the state to refrain from any violence and carry out a peaceful agitation.