Jalna, September 2: A day after the Marathas quota stir violence rocked some parts of the state, the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) suspended a majority of its ST bus services in at least four districts and certain other routes as a precautionary measure on Saturday, officials said. The ST services have been suspended or curtailed in parts of Jalna, Ahmednagar, Solapur, Nandurbar ostensibly to prevent them from being targeted by the protestors. Around two dozen protestors were injured, including some police personnel, trying to control and disperse the angry mobs in Antarvali-Sarati village of Jalna late on Friday.

Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar rushed to Jalna this afternoon along with state President Jayant Patil, while Shiv Sena (UBT) President and ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray along with Leader of Opposition (Council) Ambadas Danve, and Congress’ ex-CM Ashok Chavan are reaching this evening. In an unusual move, Pawar went to the marquee where the protests are on since last Tuesday and addressed the Marathas gathering as Bharatiya Janata Party MP Chhatrapati Udayanraje Bhosale was present, and Chhatrapati Sambhajiraje Bhosale had arrived earlier. Maratha Reservation: Bandh’ Observed in Beed To Protest Police Action Against Maratha Quota Agitators in Maharashtra’s Jalna

He slammed the Chief Minister Eknath Shinde for not fulfilling his promises and accused the government of using brutal force to crush the Maratha agitation. Pawar appealed for peace and restraint, and said that the issues could be resolved amicably with discussions with the government.  Handing over the microphone to Chhatrapati Udayanraje Bhosale, Pawar also expressed happiness that both the royal descendents were present to express solidarity with the agitating Marathas. Jalna Violence Video: Stone Pelted, Vehicle Torched During Protest Demanding Maratha Reservation

The government of Shinde and Deputy CMs Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar has come in for several criticisms with Congress President Nana Patole, Leader of Opposition Vijay Wadettiwar (Assembly) and others demanding their resignation for failing to fulfil the Maratha aspirations. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena President Raj Thackeray pointedly asked the government as to what triggered the violence, while Wadettiwar has demanded a probe into the entire episode. Even as top leaders across the political arena appealed for calm, the agitation spread to some other towns in Jalna and other districts in the form of stray arson, road blocks, protest demonstrations, processions, etc.

These included Nashik, Lasur-Gangapur highway, Buldhana, Navi Mumbai, Nagpur, Solapur, Beed, Sangli and other places.  Shutdown call was issued for Nandurbar, but later withdrawn and a similar call was given for Beed even as the police have deployed tight security across all sensitive regions. On September 1 evening, thousands of protestors demanding reservations in jobs and education for Marathas gathered at the Antarvali-Sarati village in Ambad region, where the Maratha Morcha convenor, Manoj Jarange and others were sitting on a hunger-strike since Tuesday (August 29).

As Jarange’s condition seemed to deteriorate, a police posse attempted to break up the agitation and compel him to break his hunger strike which apparently enraged his supporters. In the ensuing melee the police allegedly attempted to disperse the crowds with stern warnings which went unheeded and the people allegedly pelted stones. The police retaliated by caning the protestors, bursting teargas and even chasing away the protestors, leading to at least two dozen persons getting injured, including some policemen.

The angry protestors ran off from the spot and later torched at least two buses on the outskirts of the village, and later there were reports of arson from Aurangabad, and more protests in other districts today. The MVA has termed the violence as instigated to divert attention from the National Opposition parties’ INDIA Conclave that was just concluding in Mumbai last evening.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Sep 02, 2023 04:28 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).