Maratha Reservation Protest: Three Suicide Attempts Result In Two Deaths; Know What Happened So Far
The protest for Maratha reservation took a hostile turn when a 28-year-old protester committed suicide in Aurangabad. The incident took place in Gangapur, where Kakasaheb Shinde jumped into the Godavari river to protest against the delay by the government in announcing quota for the Maratha community.
Shinde was pulled out by lifeguards and rushed to a civic hospital, where he was declared ‘dead before admission’. There were 2 more suicide attempts in Aurangabad district’s Devgaon Rangari village. One of them, Jagannath Sonavne, consumed poison and was in the hospital undergoing treatment. He died today morning. Another person is undergoing treatment at a local hospital. A constable who was posted at the venue of Shinde’s funeral died. The police are yet to ascertain the cause of death.
Violence over reservation
The suicide has sparked furious reactions from the Maratha community all over Maharashtra. Agitators staged a rasta roko on the Aurangabad highway, vandalised several vehicles including government ones. Protesters also demanded a criminal case be filed against Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in the incident, and demanded ₹50 lakh as compensation for the deceased’s family.
“We will continue our agitation until Chief Minister Fadnavis apologises to the Maratha community. We will observe bandh in Aurangabad and other parts of the state today,” Ravindra Patil, the coordinator of a pro-reservation group of Marathas, said, reported NDTV. The CM said that the government is very seriously looking into the reservation aspect. Internet services have been shut down in rural Maharashtra as a preventive measure.
Clashes broke out in Latur when one group tried to enforce today’s bandh by forcefully closing down shops and overturning a vegetable cart.
Clashes break out between two groups in Udgir in Latur district of Maharashtra when one group was forcibly trying to get people to shut shops and overturned a vegetable cart while attempting to enforce Maharashtra bandh. Police is on the spot and situation is contained pic.twitter.com/uEOqPDx0As
— ANI (@ANI) July 25, 2018
#WATCH: Maratha Kranti Morcha workers set ablaze a truck in Aurangabad's Gangapur as a mark of their protest demanding reservation for Maratha community in government jobs & education. #Maharashtra pic.twitter.com/OIdBJlSLpo
— ANI (@ANI) July 24, 2018
Several Maratha outfits such as the Maratha Kranti Morcha (MKM), Maratha Kranti Samaj and Sakal Maratha Samaj are leading the agitation. Smaller Maratha groups have joined these larger groups. As the stir for reservation in jobs and education intensified, the Maratha Kranti Morcha also decided to call for a Mumbai bandh on July 25. Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde said that law and order conditions will be assessed by local police authorities to decide whether schools and colleges should be kept open.
A Shiv Sena MP was manhandled in Aurangabad where he had gone to attend the last rites of Shinde.
Aurangabad: Locals attacked the vehicle of Shiv Sena MP Chandrakant Khaire when he went to attend funeral of the youth who drowned in Godavari river in the district y'day during 'jal samadhi agitation held' for reservation for Maratha community in govt jobs&education.#Maharashtra pic.twitter.com/73uQo6lgc1
— ANI (@ANI) July 24, 2018
Over the past two years, Maratha outfits have held “silent” protests across the state with lakhs coming in support of the community. In August 2017, a silent rally in Mumbai, reportedly the 58th such rally, was attended by lakhs of people from across the state.
The agitation has forced Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray to cut short his tour of Marathwada while Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis after warnings from the MKM had to cancel his visit to Pandharpur temple in view of the safety of lakhs of devotees gathered on ashadhi ekadashi, the CM said.
The Maratha community is a politically influential community constituting of 30-40 percent of the state population, so all major political parties have always backed the issue of Maratha reservations in one way or another. While the state government says that it has taken all the precautionary measures for bandh, and the Maratha outfits seem to be calling for a peaceful protest, the issue of Maratha Aarakshan will take some time to settle.