Mumbai: Maratha outfits have called for a bandh in Maharashtra today, a day after a man demanding reservation for the community jumped to his death in a river in Aurangabad district. A pro-reservation Maratha leader said they have called the bandh across the state today and that they would continue their agitation until Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis apologises to the community.
“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.
Some Maratha groups have also planned to protest in Mumbai in the near future. Yesterday, a 27-year-old protester, Kakasaheb Shinde, jumped off a bridge over Godavari River in Aurangabad. He was rushed to a hospital where he was declared dead, police said.
The Maratha Kranti Morcha had yesterday demanded an apology from Fadnavis for alleging that some members from the community were planning violence at Pandharpur town in Solapur district, where the chief minister was earlier scheduled to perform puja at a temple on ‘Ashadhi Ekadashi’. The outfit, which led the ‘jal samadhi’ protest in which Shinde died, is leading the agitation seeking reservation for the community in government jobs and education.
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Shinde’s death had triggered a fresh set of protests in several parts of Maharashtra, with opposition leaders seeking to put the onus on the BJP-led government in the state. In the last few days, protests have take place in Buldhana, Akola, Parali, Washim and even in Mumbai.
Fadnavis had said on Sunday that he was cancelling his visit, scheduled yesterday, to the temple in Pandharpur after protesting Maratha outfits threatened to disrupt the event. Quotas for Marathas, a politically influential community that constitutes around 30 per cent of the state’s population, has been a hugely contentious issue.
The community leaders had earlier taken out several rallies in various districts to highlight their demands. Last year, a huge rally was organised by the Maratha Kranti Morcha in this connection in Mumbai. Despite assurances from Fadnavis to fulfil the demands, nothing concrete has been done till now, community leaders have claimed.