Written byGogona Saikia
Schools and colleges have been declared closed in various places. Additional police forces have been deployed.
However, a split in the Maratha Kranti Morcha might weaken today's protests in Mumbai.
Sakal Maratha Samaj said Navi Mumbai has been exempted due to "sensitive issues."
Marathas have long demanded reservation in jobs and education. In July'16, a Maratha teenager was gangraped and murdered in Kopardi, allegedly by three Dalits. Since then, protests by different groups have broken out often, sometimes turning violent.
The list of demands is growing with every fresh round of protest. Apart from reservation, agitators are seeking farm loan waivers, punishment to the Kopardi rapists, withdrawal of cases against protesters, action against cops for firing and lathi-charge during the July 25 protests, and sacking of politicians who made "irresponsible" comments.
They have also demanded compensation for those killed or injured during protests.
Violence erupted at places like Koparkhairane, Kalamboli and Chakan during the July 25 round of protests.
According to police, during July 18-27, 276 cases of violence, 250 of stone pelting and 198 of arson were registered.
Several policemen were injured.
Property worth over Rs. 4.5cr was damaged.
Violence broke out after a youth jumped into the Godavari. Another youth died in clashes.
Today, groups have split up over the mode of protest. One faction of the Morcha has announced a sit-in at the suburban collector's office in Bandra, while the other has declared a bandh.
The All India Kisan Sabha has meanwhile organized a march from Churchgate Railway Station to Hutatma Chowk and a 'jail bharo andolan' at 5pm.
Schools and colleges in several regions like Pune have been declared shut. Most commercial units in the Chakan industrial area will remain closed too. The Union Home Ministry has provided additional security. Officials said protests will be videographed, which will help in case of violence.
CM Devendra Fadnavis had assured protesters their demands would be met, but had sought time till November.
Yesterday, Minister Chandrakant Patil said "nothing can be done" by the government about their demands till November 15 anyway.
But Amol Jadhavrao of the Morcha alleged the CM is "trying to dilute the intensity of the agitation" and talking to only some protesters "to create confusion within the community."
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