• Monday, June 17, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Maharashtra CM Shinde calls key meeting over Maratha quota violence

Several people, including around 40 policemen, were injured after the protest broke out over the demand for Maratha quota.

Stones lay on the street after protestors allegedly resorted to stone pelting during a protest demanding Maratha reservation, in Jalna in the western Indian state of Maharashtra on Saturday, September 2, 2023. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

DAYS after a protest over demand for Maratha quota became violent in Jalna in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, Eknath Shinde, its chief minister, was set to hold a high-level meeting on Monday (4) to discuss the issue.

Shinde, who joined hands with prime minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form the government in Maharashtra last year, said a committee will be formed to investigate the violence that left several injured in the city in central Maharashtra.

He also said the top police officer of Jalna district where the city is located was sent on “compulsory leave”, NDTV reported.

The clash broke out on Friday (1) when the police tried to move Manoj Jarange, a Maratha agitation leader who was leading the protest, to a hospital after the doctors suggested so. The protesters had been staging a hunger strike under the leadership of Jarange demanding reservations since earlier last week.

About 40 cops were injured after the protesters started throwing stones at them. According to police sources, some of the protesters also targeted state transport buses and private vehicles. The police had to resort to charging batons and using tear gas shells to disperse the protesters. Local people alleged that the cops also fired in the air though it was not confirmed by officials.

Officials said cases have been registered against over 350 people for alleged involvement in the violent protests, officials added, the NDTV report said.

Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who belongs to the BJP and is also the state’s home minister, called Jarange to discuss the matter and assured him that action will be initiated against those responsible for the “unfortunate incident”.

Chief minister Shinde said his government was committed to providing reservation to the Maratha community.

“The state government is taking some steps to give reservation to the community. During Devendra Fadnavis’s tenure as chief minister, the state government had given reservation to the Maratha community but the Supreme Court quashed it,” he was quoted as saying by the NDTV report.

The opposition slammed the government accusing it of using brutal force against the protesters and demanded resignation of Fadnavis. They said the agitation and the police action against it was the result of wrong police action.

Former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar, a senior leader from the state, visited the place where the violence broke out, on Saturday (2). They also met the injured at the hospital and said the injured alleged that the police personnel suddenly started charging with batons despite the situation being under control.

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