Mumbai, (The Hindu): The Maratha Kranti Morcha has called for a State-wide bandh on Tuesday after a young protester committed suicide in Aurangabad district on Monday. The morcha is leading protests in several parts of the State over the Maratha reservation issue.
The incident took place in Gangapur, where Kakasaheb Shinde (27) jumped into the Godavari river to protest increasing delays by the government in announcing a reservation quota for the Maratha community. Lifeguards pulled Mr. Shinde out and took him to a civic hospital nearby, where he was declared ‘dead before admission’.
The suicide sparked furious reactions from the Marathas, who refused to accept his body. Agitators staged a rasta roko on the Aurangabad highway, vandalised several vehicles including government ones. Protesters also demanded a criminal case be filed against Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in the incident, and demanded 50 lakh as compensation for the deceased’s family. The Maratha leadership called for a State bandh, while assuring that emergency services won’t be disrupted. It said protesters have been forbidden from targeting public transport buses, sources said.
The Sakal Maratha Samaj’s bandh call excludes Mumbai. Maratha organisations said they have submitted a letter to the police about the Jalsamadhi. “Mr. Shinde died for reservation quota, and justice will be served only when the CM resigns,” the samaj’s Sachin Misal said.
Maratha groups have warned that while Tuesday's protest will be peaceful, it could turn violent if the government doesn’t accept its demands within two days. “We condemn the death of the youth. The government must now give reservation. The bandh will be silent,” Virendra Pawar from the Maratha Kranti Morcha said. Mr. Fadnavis refused to comment on the incident.
A morcha member told The Hindu that Mumbai has been excluded from the bandh on Tuesday as warkaris in Pandharpur will leave for their hometowns on that day. “This is a question faced by many of us in various cities. The warkaris will leave late in the afternoon, and it would be unfair if they are inconvenienced on their way home after such a long journey. We have called for an urgent meeting of Mumbai-based members on Tuesday, where a call will be taken.”
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