Maratha reservations issue flare up once again

Maratha reservations issue flare up once again

Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray addresses a press conference on the issue of Maratha Kranti Morcha at his residence, in Mumbai on Monday. PTI

The Maratha reservation issue flared up once again on Monday with violence being reported from various parts of Maharashtra including the cultural capital Pune.

In Chakan area of Pune, more than two dozen vehicles including buses were torched following which Section 144 for the CrPC was imposed in several places.

Besides Chakan, violence was also reported from Hinjewadi, Khed and the Pune-Nashik Highway.

The districts of Osmanabad, Solapur, Kolhapur, Nandurbar and Aurangabad witnessed sporadic incidents of arson, violence, roadblocks and noisy processions during the day.

In Aurangabad, a 35-year-old man committed suicide by jumping in front of a moving train over the issue.

On Sunday, the man identified as Pramod Jaising Hore posted on Facebook and shared a WhatsApp message saying he would be ending his life in support of the demand for reservation.

In his Facebook post, he said in Marathi: "Today, one Maratha is leaving... Do something for the Maratha reservation..."

With this the total number of suicides committed demanding reservation for the Maratha community in education and jobs, has mounted to three.

On July 23, Kakasaheb Shinde (27), a driver, jumped into the Godavari river off the Kannad village in Gangapur tehsil of Aurangabad district.

On July 24, Jagganath Sonawane (55), consumed poison at the Devgaon Rangari village in Aurangabad-Mumbai road.

He died in a government hospital on Wednesday.

In Mumbai, separate meetings of political parties were held.

While the Congress and the NCP meetings were presided over by Leader of Opposition in Assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, and his counterpart in Council, Dhananjay Munde, respectively, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray held a meeting of party leaders and legislators.

A Congress delegation later met Maharashtra Governor CH Vidyasagar Rao.

So far eight MLAs, cutting across party lines, have resigned demanding reservation for the Maratha community.

"I think that the issue can be sorted out in three months," senior leader and Rajya Sabha member Narayan Rane said, adding that even Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had given a  similar time frame to sort out the issue.

Several Maratha groups have warned of intensifying the agitation from August 1, while the Dhangars community has also demanded their share of quota by September 1, failing which they would launch an agitation.

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