Mumbai: The agitation over the Maratha reservation issue in Maharashtra has taken a violent turn in Beed district, where protesters have torched the office of NCP and the houses of two MLAs belonging to the party. The district administration has imposed Section 144 in the district and all the taluka headquarters to prevent further violence.
According to sources, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis held an emergency meeting on Monday night to discuss the situation. Shinde was also seen visiting Governor Ramesh Bais at Raj Bhawan earlier.
The Maratha reservation movement has been going on since August this year, demanding a quota for the community in education and jobs. The movement intensified after the Supreme Court struck down the Maharashtra government’s decision to grant 16% reservation to Marathas in February this year.
The protesters have resorted to various forms of agitation, such as blocking roads, staging rallies, and committing suicide. So far, 13 people have killed themselves in the last 11 days over the issue. The protesters have also caused damage to public property, such as buses, bikes, and cars. The state transport department has stopped operations from 30 depots due to the loss.
Meanwhile, some political leaders have also expressed their solidarity with the Maratha community by resigning from their posts. Two Shiv Sena MPs, Hemant Patil from Hingoli and Hemant Godse from Nashik, and one BJP MLA, Laxman Pawar from Gevrai, have sent their resignations to Chief Minister Shinde on Sunday.
The Shinde government is facing a tough challenge to resolve the issue and restore peace in the state. The government has said that it is exploring legal options to provide reservation to Marathas without violating the constitutional norms. However, the protesters have demanded immediate action from the government and threatened to intensify their agitation if their demands are not met.