The district administration in Aurangabad has imposed Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code that prohibits gathering of more than four people. This is in the wake of fears of backlash by Maratha protesters during the special cabinet meeting of the state government on Tuesday.
The Maratha silent protests, were triggered by the brutal rape and murder of a minor girl from the community, in Ahmednagar. The three accused in this case are Dalits.
The district administration imposed the prohibitory orders, on Sunday and they will be effective till Tuesday. The orders have been issued to avert any untoward incidents during the cabinet meet which will be attended by all ministers.
The move came in after the district administration received a tip that people from various organisations and communities were planning to stage an agitation during the cabinet meet.
The Maratha community had organised its first big silent rally in Aurangabad, the most industrialised city in Marathwada. The community members had indicated that one more protest was in the offing during the cabinet meeting. It was also expected that other groups may use the opportunity to stage protests.
The orders will be in effect within the radius of 200-meter of the divisional commissioner office, collector office and the Subhedari guest house.
“The cabinet meet is taking place in Marathwada after a gap of eight years and groups representing various groups are likely to agitate for their demands. Though they will be allowed to submit their memorandums peacefully, no agitation will be allowed in the restricted areas. Such orders are usually issued during cabinet meetings outside Mumbai,” said an officer from Aurangabad district administration.
The cabinet is scheduled to start at 11am at the divisional commissioner office in Aurangabad. The police have deployed heavy bandobast, including four companies of State Reserve Police Force, in the area.
In a similar mover, the district administration of Palghar had last month imposed Section 144 fearing a backlash by NGOs during a visit of ministers over malnutrition deaths. But the prohibition orders were withdrawn last minute fearing flak from the people. The current prohibition order has also been criticised by the Opposition, which has alleged that the government is afraid of people.