Mumbai-Pune Expressway Blocked, Maratha groups tried to Enforce Strike

The Maratha Kranti Morcha, which is spearheading the agitation, is expected to take the protests to Mumbai where it has called for the shutdown.

Violence was witnessed in Maharashtra and the Mumbai-Pune Expressway was blocked as Maratha groups tried to enforce their day-long strike today.

The community has been demanding reservation in jobs and education. Protesters have blocked arterial roads, including the Eastern Expressway and forced shops to shut in pockets of Raigad.

Local train routes have been blocked in Jogeshwari and near Thane. Violent protests erupted in parts of the state on Tuesday after a protester committed suicide by jumping into a river in Aurangabad.

Massive security arrangements are in place in Mumbai; schools and colleges remain open.

Updates on the Maratha protests:

The Maratha Kranti Morcha, which is spearheading the agitation, has called for the shutdown in Mumbai, the financial heart of the country. Another group, the Sakal Maratha Samaj, called for a bandh today in Navi Mumbai and Panvel.

This morning, protesters blocked Mumbai-bound traffic on Eastern Expressway, one of the busiest and most important roads that is the north-south artery of the city.

In Kalamboli, one of the key areas of Navi Mumbai, protesters are squatting on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway, blocking traffic on both sides. The Sion Panvel highway has also been completely blocked.

Stones were thrown at two buses in Navi Mumbai. The protesters also forced shops to close in many areas. In Raigadh district’s Kamothe, protesters have taken to the streets, shutting down shops and holding a bike rally.

Jagannath Sonavne, a third protester who attempted suicide by consuming poison yesterday in Aurangabad’s Deogaon Rangari, has died in a hospital.
Posters of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis were torn in parts of Thane, near Mumbai.

Besides the reservation issue, the Maratha Kranti Morcha is upset with the Chief Minister over his allegation that some members of the community were planning violence during his visit to a temple at Pandharpur town in Solapur district.

The peaceful protests by the Marathas suddenly turned violent on Tuesday after the death of a 28-year-old man, Kakasaheb Dattatreya Shinde, who committed suicide by jumping into the Godavari River on Monday.

A second protester made a suicide attempt by jumping off a bridge in Aurangabad and was seriously injured.

One constable died and nine other policemen were injured in stone-throwing as protesters clashed with the police and torched vehicles on Tuesday.
Shiv Sena lawmaker Chandrakant Khaire was manhandled by protesters in Aurangabad when he went to attend the last rites of the farmer.

Quotas for Marathas, a politically influential community that constitutes around 30 per cent of the state’s population, has been a hugely contentious issue.

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