Shops, businesses remain shut during bandh called by Maratha outfits in Kolhapur

The bandh called by Maratha outfits in western Maharashtra`s Kolhapur on Tuesday received a good response, as a majority of the commercial establishments remained shut in the city, according to the PTI.

Sakal Maratha Samaj led an agitation in Kolhapur`s Dasara Chowk, condemning the violence against protestors in Jalna last week, and asked the government to clear their stand on the reservation for the Maratha community.

Maratha reservation returned to the centre stage last week after the police baton-charged and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse a violent mob in Antarwali Sarathi village in Jalna district.

The police said protesters allegedly refused to let authorities shift a man on hunger strike for Maratha quota to the hospital.

According to the police, the overall bandh was peaceful, and no untoward incident was reported anywhere in the city or district.

“Traders in the market areas of the city supported the bandh and all commercial establishments remained closed till evening,” Kolhapur Superintendent of Police Mahendra Pandit said, reported the PTI.

Members of Sakal Maratha Morcha gathered at Dasara Chowk and registered their protest over the Jalna violence, he said.

As a precaution, the state transport and civic buses remained off the road, while private vehicles continued to ply, the official said.

A holiday was declared for schools, while colleges remained open but the attendance was low, he said.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sunil Pawar said the bandh received impromptu support from people.

“As there was anger among people over the incident in Jalna, they took part in the bandh on their own. No untoward incident was recorded anywhere,” he said.

The government should make its stand clear on the Maratha reservation, he said.

“We will seek answers from Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar as to what he is doing about the reservation as he is a Maratha minister,” he said.

Meanwhile, a shutdown was observed in Aurangabad, Maharashtra on Monday protesting the police action against Maratha quota agitators in Jalna on September 1, according to the PTI.

The `bandh` call in Aurangabad was given by the Marathi Kranti Morcha and was supported by the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM).

Workers from these parties and members of various social outfits assembled at Karnti Chowk here as part of the shutdown and shouted slogans against police action at Jalna.

A police official said units in Waluj industrial area were functional, while state transport (ST) buses were off the roads as a precautionary measure.

(with PTI inputs)

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