The shutdown called by Maratha groups across Maharashtra on Wednesday demanding Maratha quota in government jobs and educational institutes, turned violent as protesters burnt buses and hurled stones in various parts of Mumbai.
The Panvel-Sion highway was the worst affected as protesters threw stones at policemen in Navi Mumbai and Satara district, injuring three police personnel. The police retaliated and lathicharged protesters, fired plastic bullets and lobbed tear gas shells at them, officials said.
Satara's Superintendent of Police Sandeep Patil sustained a minor injury while two policemen were injured at Kalamboli in Navi Mumbai. Protesters who gathered at Kalamboli blocked the Mumbai-Goa and Mumbai-Pune highways. The policemen deployed at the spot tried to take them away as the traffic was blocked because of the protest. Some persons in the crowd then started throwing stones at the policemen, injuring two personnel, officials said.
Protesters also set afire two police vans in the area, he said. The police then cane-charged the protesters, lobbed tear gas shells at them and also fired plastic bullets in the air, he said. Additional police force was called at the spot, he said, adding that the situation in the area was tense.
The traffic movement from Mumbai to Pune and Goa was affected due to the protests at Vashi, Kharghar, Kalamboli and Palaspe, he said. In Satara district, police cane-charged protesters who blocked the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway at Bombay Restaurant Chowk and threw stones at the policemen, SP Sandeep Patil said. Tear gas shells were also lobbed at the pro-quota agitators, said Patil, who was injured in the stone-pelting. A few vehicles were also set afire by the angry protesters in Satara, a police official said.
Meanwhile, the local train services on the trans-harbour line (between Thane and Vashi) were affected for over an hour in the afternoon as protesters halted trains at Ghansoli station, he said. On Wednesday morning also, the movement of trains was disrupted at Ghansoli, he said.
The Mumbai-Goa highway was also blocked near Palaspe at Panvel in Raigad district by protesters. The Sion-Panvel highway was blocked for some time at Kharghar and Vashi, but the police removed protesters from the road, the official said. Some agitators burnt tyres at Majiwada in the neighbouring Thane city and auto-rickshaw drivers staged protests at the Nitin Junction, another official said. In Mumbai, the Western Express Highway witnessed traffic jams due to violent protests near Jogeshwari flyover and Kandivali.
Meanwhile, a man, Jagannath Sonawane (55), who had consumed poison in Aurangabad yesterday when the reservation protest was going on, died in the hospital on Wednesday. Sonawane committed suicide due to domestic issues, Aurangabad Superintendent of Police Arti Singh claimed, adding that he was not a part of the protest.
The Maratha Kranti Morcha, which is spearheading the agitation for reservation in jobs and education, had on Wednesday called for the shutdown in Mumbai and neighbouring districts.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Jul 25, 2018 16:37 PM