Violence mars Maratha quota stir, Mumbai shutsdown today

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Aurangabad (Maharashtra), July 24: A policemen and four others were injured, four persons attempted suicide, over a dozen vehicles damaged or torched, road and rail links blocked while an MP and MLC were roughed up, as the stir for the Maratha quota turned violent in parts of Maharashtra on Tuesday.

Several Maratha organizations have now called for a “Mumbai shutdown” on Wednesday, with the Maratha Sakal Samaj (the state-level body) appealing to all community members to observe it peacefully. Starting with Aurangabad, a series of processions were taken out on Tuesday in various districts of northern, western Maharashtra and Marathwada with thousands taking to the streets demanding reservations in government jobs and education. Roads were blocked in Aurangabad, Osmanabad, Pune, while a fire brigade van, a bus and a truck (in Aurangabad), a police van (in Hingoli), at least five state transport buses (in Kolhapur), were pelted with stones and other several vehicles also damaged by angry Marathas, while there was rail blockade for half an hour at Parbhani this afternoon. The Mumbai-Agra National Highway in Nashik was blocked, while protests were carried out in Nanded, Jalgaon, Parbhani, Kolhapur, Osmanabad, Ahmednagar, Jalna, Nandurbar, Yavatmal and Akola districts, and roads were blocked by burning tyres in Nashik and Hingoli.

In view of the violence, state transport bus services were suspended in Aurangabad, Osmanabad, and Nanded, stranding thousands of passengers in the moffusil areas, while a silent protest procession was taken out in Nagpur, though Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai and some other cities remained unaffected by the shutdown on Tuesday. Several districts observed a spontaneous shutdown on Tuesday, mourning for Kakasaheb Dattatreya Shinde, 28 who committed by jumping in the River Godavari in Aurangabad’s Kaigaon on Tuesday. A policeman from Osmanabad, Shyam Katgaonkar, posted on duty in Kaigaon for the funeral security, suddenly collapsed and died of a heart attack here this afternoon.(IANS)