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Protesters near Pune throw stones, block highway, clash with police over Maratha quota demand

Marathas, a politically-influential community constituting around 30 per cent of Maharashtra’s population, have been agitating to press their demand for reservation in jobs and education

india Updated: Jul 30, 2018 18:00 IST
Yogesh Joshi
Yogesh Joshi
Hindustan Times, Punes
Pune protests,Maratha reservation agitation,Marathas
Maratha community protests on JM Road in Pune, on July 29, 2018.(HT Photo)

Police clashed with protesters who blocked a highway and damaged vehicles in western Maharashtra on Monday as Maratha organisations resumed their agitation for reservation after a week-long lull in the state.

Maratha protesters in the Chakan industrial town attacked policemen, damaged least 100 vehicles in Chakan and Khed, and blocked the Pune-Nashik highway for at least four hours this morning, said government officials.

The violence began during a protest march by Sakal Maratha Samaj in Chakan. “Few youngsters suddenly started pelting stones despite appeal by police to maintain peace,” said Sandeep Pakhale, additional superintendent of police. Four policemen a three civilians were injured. Police fired tear gas shells in the air to control the protesters.

In Solapur, protestors attacked a vehicle driven by a deputy police commissioner. In Pandharpur, protestors damaged around 20 state transport buses and police vehicles. “We have detained 171 people and now the situation is under control,” said Mahadev Tambade, commissioner of police.

News agency PTI reported a 35-year-old man killed himself by jumping in front of a train in Aurangabad district to support reservation for Marathas. Pramod Jaising Hore had written on his Facebook page and shared a message on WhatsApp on Sunday, saying he will kill himself.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had on Sunday reiterated his government’s commitment to give Marathas reservation and assured a delegation headed by former chief minister Narayan Rane that cases filed against people during previous protests will be withdrawn.

First Published: Jul 30, 2018 17:56 IST