Mumbai, July 25: Hours after the Maratha Kranti Morcha called off its Mumbai bandh, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday said that the state government is ready to talk to the Maratha outfit over their demand of reservation in jobs and education.
“The government has taken cognisance of protest by Maratha community and has taken several decisions. Government is ready to talk to them. Government had made a law for reservation to the community but that was stayed by Bombay High Court,” Fadnavis said today.
Earlier, the Maratha Kranti Morcha called off the Mumbai bandh on Wednesday. The bandh in the financial capital of India, which began this morning, was called off just before 3 pm after various parts saw violence.
“We only wanted to prove that we are together and proved it. We never wanted protests to get violent and therefore we are calling off our bandh in Mumbai for today,” Virendra Pawar, leader of the Morcha told reporters here.
“We suspect some people carried out violent activities with political motives. Otherwise, it was supposed to be peaceful like before. But considering the reports of violence coming from outside Mumbai, we decided to call it off,” Pawar added.
The announcement came after protests across the state turned violent with the agitators attacking public buses and stopping local trains in Mumbai and neighbouring areas.
Three policemen were injured after protesters threw stones at them in Navi Mumbai and Satara district. The police retaliated and cane-charged protesters, fired plastic bullets and lobbed tear gas shells at them.
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.
The traffic movement from Mumbai to Pune and Goa was affected due to the protests at Vashi, Kharghar, Kalamboli and Palaspe.
In Satara district, police cane-charged protesters who blocked the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway at Bombay Restaurant Chowk and threw stones at the policemen.
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.
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 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 a hospital today.
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 today called for the shutdown in Mumbai and some neighbouring districts.
(With PTI inputs)