Mumbai: Maratha quota stir took another bitter turn on Wednesday when over 100 activists launched a noisy ‘jail bharo’ agitation at the Azad Maidan here.
The move has intensified their ongoing fortnight-long campaign for job quotas for Maratha community members.
Maratha Kranti Morcha city convenor Virendra Pawar said the agitation in Mumbai was a success and protests were also underway in other parts of the state including Nashik, Parbhani, Solapur and Kolhapur.
Thousands of activists marched to the Azad Maidan in the morning shouting slogans demanding Maratha quotas in government jobs and education. They later courted arrest and were whisked away in police vans.
Activists blocked a portion of the busy Pune-Solapur highway near Kondi and the Aurangabad-Jalna highway as part of the agitation, disrupting traffic and leading to massive traffic jams in both directions.
A large number of Marathas demonstrated outside the residence of Latur Guardian Minister Sambhaji Patil-Nilangekar and raised slogans demanding immediate announcement of quotas for the community.
In Aurangabad, a few Maratha activists tonsured their heads as a mark of protest against the government amidst heightened security in all parts of the state.
From August Kranti Day, August 9, the Maratha groups will unleash protests all over the state. The demonstrators will converge in Mumbai and launch a siege of Mantralaya, the state government headquarters in Nariman Point, Pawar added.
Today’s planned jail-bharo stir came after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Tuesday that the government would announce Maratha quotas after following the due process of law to ensure it stands legal scrutiny and without affecting existing quotas for other communities.