Protests, sit-ins, road blocks and stray incidents of violence were reported from Marathwada region of Maharashtra, throwing traffic and normal life out of gear in several districts on Tuesday.
The Statewide shutdown was called by the Maratha Kranti Morcha following the suicide of Kakasaheb Dattatrey Shinde, a young activist demanding reservation for the Maratha community.
The State government announced Rs. 10 lakh compensation for Shinde’s kin. It also suspended Gangapur tehsildar Chandrakant Shelke and police inspector Sunil Birla for ‘failing’ to prevent his suicide.
The agitation took a violent turn near the bridge on the Godavari at Kaygaon Toka (the spot where Shinde committed suicide) in Aurangabad.
Despite strong police deployment, a mob began pelting stones on security personnel. According to reports, two police jawans were injured even as the mob torched a Fire Brigade vehicle. Roadblocks in Jamkhed tehsil of Ahmednagar led to major traffic snarls. A total shutdown was observed in Beed, Nanded and Osmanabad districts, with government as well as private establishments downing shutters.
In Osmanabad, a mob staged a demonstration in front of the District Collector’s office, while the police resorted to a lathi-charge to disperse protesters.
A police constable, deployed for security at the funeral of Shinde, died after suffering a cardiac arrest. He was identified as Shyam Laxman Padgaonkar, hailing from Osmanabad.
The agitation forced Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray to cut short his tour of Marathwada. Mr. Thackeray cancelled his tour of Beed district and returned to Aurangabad.
Keeping in mind the inconvenience to lakhs of ‘warkaris (devotees) stranded in the temple town of Pandharpur (in Solapur district) on the occasion of Ashadhi Ekadashi, the Morcha postponed its shutdown in Mumbai and Pune by a day, while appealing to protesters not to disrupt public transport across western Maharashtra.
A case of attempted suicide was reported from Aurangabad’s Devgaon Rangari village. A 31-year-old agitator, Jayendra ‘Guddu’ Sonawane, jumped into a stream, injuring his leg.
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