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Maratha agitation ensues, statewide protest on August 9


Upset with the delay in implementing the reservations for the Marathas in jobs and reservations, a statewide protest has been called on August 9. In order to deal with violent protests, the state government is planning to extend the additional security to the districts of Aurangabad, Kolhapur and Nanded range. It has also sought assistance from the Centre for the maintenance of law and order situation.

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As per the report, published in Indian Express, police registered 345 cases of violent protests against agitators between July 19 and August 2.

Between July 19 and August 2, 345 cases have been registered across the state in connection to the Maratha agitation. Of the cases, Kolhapur  and the adjoining Satara district has registered 109 cases and  Nanded and Aurangabad registered 72 cases.

“These districts are the most sensitive and have witnessed sporadic violent protests since July 19. A decision has been taken to provide additional security cover in these areas. We have requested the Centre for additional forces, which would be deployed along with state forces in these sensitive areas,” a senior official from the DGP office asserted.

Standard operating procedures  laid down in the police manual have been asked to be followed by the SPs while handling protesters and they must refrain from opening fire.  Local Inspector generals will be consulted by the SPs with the decision on whether to allow Internet in these areas has been left to the them.

“We cannot snap Internet services throughout the state. It will cause a lot of inconvenience, especially in Mumbai and its satellite towns. But in areas where the agitation goes out of hand and there is an apprehension that mobile data could worsen the law and order situation, the local SP could snap Internet service until order is restored,” said the official. When the previous ‘bandh’ took place, the internet services were snapped in Aurangabad and in Navi Mumbai where the protest had turned violent.

Additional forces will also be deployed at train stations and all nodal entry and exit points of each district and city. “This to ensure that outsiders, who intend to cause violence, cannot participate in the protest,” said the official.

Officials also said that through the preliminary assessment of the violence that had rocked parts of the state there was the indication that in certain areas, the violence was pre-planned and those involved could be anti-social elements having past antecedents. It was even observed and claimed by the officials that in certain areas, the protesters were not Marathas but belonged to different castes and religions.

“Monday’s protest in the industrial town of Chakan looks to be planned in advance by anti-social elements, who arrived from the neighbouring districts and were seen carrying fuel cans and canes. Video footages show they started pelting stones immediately after the protest march. In Navi Mumbai, the clash that broke out in Koparkhairane village was owing to an old animosity between the members of the Agri community and the Mathadi Kamgars or head loaders,” a senior official informed.

“Also, in certain pockets, those participating in the agitation were not Marathas and had come with the sole purpose of fomenting violence,” he added.

Also Read: All party meet over Maratha reservation issue commences

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