Maratha agitators disrupted road traffic in some parts of Maharashtra on Thursday as part of their state-wide protests over reservation demand.
Despite an appeal from Maratha community leaders to observe a peaceful bandh, protesters blocked roads and burnt tyres in some places, a police official said.
In Mumbai, some protesters covered their eyes and mouth with black ribbons during the protest demanding Maratha reservation.
In Latur, Sholapur, Kolhapur, Palghar and several other places, activists blocked road traffic and places like Pune, Ahmednagar, Washim, Dhule, Buldhana, Nanded, Akola, Parbhani, Jalna, Hingoli, Aurangabad woke up to a total shutdown.
Though Nashik was normal, there were roadblocks, processions and sit-ins and similar agitations in Nagpur, where activists performed prayers to a statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. In Yavatmal, a bike rally was taken out.
In Sindhudurg district, Marathas staged a ‘jail-bharo’ agitation in all sub-districts. They were later let off.
Two groups of protesters clashed when someone allegedly shouted slogans against Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at Kranti Chowk in Aurangabad district, a police official said.
According to him, a group led by Sena district chief Ambadas Danve objected to the slogans, following a scuffle broke out between both the groups.
“One person was injured in the incident but we brought the situation under control. We separated the two groups and dispersed their members,” the police official said.
Agitators attacked the gate and a cabin at the Pune district collector’s office and damaged some light bulbs in the premises, a police official said.
Protesters held a sit-in outside the residence of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar in Baramati tehsil of Pune, and were joined by his nephew Ajit Pawar in support of the Maratha community’s demand for reservation in government jobs and education.
The agitators halted buses and other vehicles on roads in Latur, Jalna, Solapur and Buldhana districts. They blocked the Madha-Shetfal road, which connects to National Highway No. 9 (Pune-Hyderabad) in Solapur district, officials said.
Some agitators burnt tyres on roads in Jalna and Ahmednagar districts, a police official said.
A call for band was given by Sakal Maratha Samaj, an umbrella body of Maratha groups, but excluded Navi Mumbai, which had witnessed large-scale violence in July during protests by the community.
Amol Jadhavrao, a leader of Sakal Maratha Samaj, had said on Wednesday that they would hold a peaceful protest from 8 am to 6 pm on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the authorities had ordered closure of schools and colleges in some cities, including Pune, fearing violence.
(With inputs from agencies)