Maratha Kranti Morcha called off its day-long Mumbai bandh on Wednesday after violence marred the protests and one more protester died after consuming poison. Angry protesters threw stones at policemen deployed for the security, attacked state-run buses and stopped trains in several parts of Maharashtra, including Mumbai and adjoining Thane.
The protesters also indulged in arson and blocked Mumbai-Pune and Mumbai-Goa highways for several hours, prompting police to use tear gas shells and baton charge to disperse them. Three policemen, including a Superintendent of Police, sustained critical injuries in stone pelting by the protesters.
Maratha Kranti Morcha was spearheading the agitation to press their demand for reservation for Maratha community in education and jobs.
10 reasons why it turned violent:
1. The agitation for reservation for Maratha community in jobs and education, spearheaded by Maratha Kranti Morcha, on Wednesday reached the financial capital of India, Mumbai.
2. A day-long bandh was called in Mumbai by several Maratha groups to press for their demands. However, the bandh was called off just before 3 pm after violence in several parts of the state.
#WATCH: Maharashtra police fires tear gas shells on #MarathaKrantiMorcha's protesters who were blocking the Mumbai-Pune highway in Kalamboli over demand for reservation in govt jobs & education, earlier today. The organisation has called off #MumbaiBandh now. #Maharashtra pic.twitter.com/7PdrwMOfH2— ANI (@ANI) July 25, 2018
3. The Morcha distanced itself from the violence and claimed political hands. Maratha Kranti Morcha leader Virendra Pawar said “We suspect some people carried out violent activities with political motives. Otherwise, it was supposed to be peaceful like before.”
4. Pawar said that they wanted to peacefully and their motive behind the Mumbai bandh, which was to prove their unity, was achieved successfully. “We only wanted to prove that we are together and proved it. We never wanted protests to get violent and therefore, we are calling off our bandh in Mumbai for today,” he said.
5. Another Morcha leader said that the bandh may be called again on August 9. He, however, said that the final decision to call the bandh again would be taken after consulting all senior members of all Maratha morchas.
6. Maratha is a politically-influential community which constitutes around 30 per cent of Maharashtra’s total population. They have long been demanding reservation in jobs and education and had even called a huge rally in Mumbai in 2017.
7. The protests, which were being carried out by the members of Maratha community across the state turned violent on Sunday after a 27-year-old protester, Kakasaheb Shinde, jumped off a bridge over Godavari River in Aurangabad and died.
8. On Tuesday, another protester identified as Jagannath Sonawane, consumed a poisonous substance during the protest in Aurangabad, the epicentre of the protest. He died on Wednesday at a local government hospital.
9. The Maratha Kranti Morcha was also demanding an apology from Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who cancelled his visit to Pandharpur temple in Solapur district. Fadnavis had alleged that some protesters were planning violence in the Pandharpur during his visit.
10. So far, the protesters claimed that not a single representative of Maharashtra government has approached them for any negotiations. They also slammed CM Fadnavis and said that he was “confining himself to his AC room” and never bothered to address their demands.