Maratha stir:‘Outsiders’ sparked ‘pre-planned’ violence in Pune’s Chakan, say police

Police have identified around 15 people responsible for the violence, which caused damage to the tune of Rs 10 crore.

india Updated: Aug 01, 2018 14:17 IST
Shrinivas Deshpande
Shrinivas Deshpande
Hindustan Times, Pune
Maratha agitation,Maratha Kranti Morcha,CCTV footage
A bus burnt in Chakan after a Maratha stir turned violent on Tuesday.(HT Photo)

The clashes that erupted in the industrial town of Chakan on Monday came as a surprise to many, including the police, as Maratha protests across the state had been largely non-violent until then.

Police have now come to believe that the violence was pre-planned. They arrived at this conclusion after scrutinising video footage of the incidents that took place on Monday.

Police said they have identified around 15 people responsible for the violence, which caused damage to the tune of Rs 10 crore. The violence was planned in advance mostly by vandals who came to Chakan from “outside” with fuel cans and canes, they added.

“As per our initial investigation, it is clear that some anti-social elements deliberately escalated the situation. A few of the video clips clearly show some protestors coming in with the intention of fomenting violence. They started pelting stones immediately after the protest march,” said Sandip Patil, Pune superintendent of police. According to the police officers who scanned video footage with the help of locals, the vandals had come with fuel cans and canes.

According to Patil, most vandals seen in the footage appear to be from neighbouring districts.

A day after the violence, police booked around 5,000 people for the violence in which more than 100 vehicles were damaged, 30 torched and eight police personnel injured. The vandals blocked roads for hours and, consequently, around 1.5 lakh workers employed at Chakan were holed up in their offices till late evening.

Manohar Wadekar, convenor of the Maratha Kranti Morcha and organiser of Monday’s Maratha protest in Chakan, said, “We conducted our protest in a non-violent way. However, while we were on our way home, another group started pelting stones and indulging in arson. None of us participated in the violence.”

Tejaswini Satpute, additional superintendent of police (Pune rural), said they are in the process of gathering CCTV footage from various parts of the city. “We have also conducted a march in the city to keep law and order under control,” she added.

Satpute was among the officers who sustained injuries in the violence.

Meanwhile, the condition of Ajay Bhapkar — another police officer injured in the protests — has stabilised. He was moved to Jehangir Hospital from Jai Hind Hospital at 1 am on Tuesday.

First Published: Aug 01, 2018 11:52 IST