Mumbai, August 9: Due to state-wide bandh called by Maratha Kranti Morcha over reservation demand in government jobs and education today, various services across the state are bound to be affected. Reports inform that the shutdown would be observed between 8 am to 6 pm on August 9. Roads may be blocked, and traffic may take a hit during the hours when the bandh is observed, local trains and public transport will run as usual. It must be noted that the Maratha Kranti Morcha is the umbrella body of Maratha groups demanding 16 percent reservation under the OBC category. The bandh in Maharashtra comes on the same day where Dalit groups are holding a nationwide agitation against the alleged rise in atrocities against the community.
The Maratha outfit has, however, urged the youths to observe the state-wide bandh in a peaceful manner without resorting to any kind of violence. Reports inform that as Mumbai witnessed a lot of violence during its bandh on July 25, protesters have decided to stage a demonstration outside the office of the Mumbai suburban collector in Bandra (East). Also, several reports inform that Thane and Navi Mumbai have been kept out of the day-long agitation.
Schools, Colleges and several offices in Maharashtra's Pune will remain shut on August 9. Also, schools will remain closed as a precautionary measure in Amravati. Reports inform that essential services like vegetables, milk schools, colleges will be exempted from the bandh. District Collector Naval Kishore Ram said in an order that during the protests tomorrow, demonstrators might create road blockades and hold processions. The chances of stone-pelting on vehicles and arson cannot be ruled out, Ram added. During the last protest, the police had detained at least 3000 youths from the Maratha community for holding violent protest across the state.
SP Pune Rural Sandip Patil informed that 2200 policemen, 900 home guards, 3 SRPF coy, 1 RAF company, 20 striking platoons have been deployed at Pune ahead of state-wide protest called by Maratha Kranti Morcha on Thursday. According to reports about six Rapid Action Force (RAF) companies and one Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) Company will be deployed in various parts of Aurangabad, Nanded and western Maharashtra.
The Maratha community constitutes approximately 30 per cent of Maharashtra's population. The Maratha outfits have called for a protest despite Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis agreeing to fulfil their demands by November on August 7. The Chief Minister had said that the state government was committed to giving reservation to the Maratha community and it would give a reservation to the community before the end of November. Fadnavis has said that mega recruitment of 72,000 employees in the state government will not be done till the Maratha reservation issue is not solved.
It must be noted that on July 30, 70 to 80 vehicles were torched and damaged while two school buses were also torched in the violence and lives of students were endangered, a release issued by the collectorate said.
Maharashtra has been witnessing a string of protests by Maratha outfits demanding reservation from the government. On Tuesday, the Bombay High Court had appealed to members of the Maratha community to refrain from resorting to violence or committing suicide over their demand for reservation.