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More Than 300 Detained as Maratha Protestors Hold 'Jail Bharo' Agitation

"We have lost confidence in Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. His assurances of offering reservation are hollow," Kedar Shinde, a protester at Azad Maidan, said.

Mumbai: Maratha activists held ‘Jail Bharo’ (fill the jails) protest at various places in Maharashtra on Wednesday, demanding immediate introduction of reservations in jobs and education for the caste.

In Mumbai and elsewhere, at least 335 persons were detained during the day. They were released later. No violence was reported from any place, police said.

Pro-quota groups led by Maratha Kranti Morcha organised Jail Bharo at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai, where police detained 34 persons. They were released later, a police official said.

Rail and road traffic in the city was not affected by the protest. Police had made adequate security arrangements in view of the agitation, said the officer.

“We have lost confidence in chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. His assurances of offering reservation are hollow,” Kedar Shinde, a protestor at Azad Maidan, said.

Agitators also staged a demonstration outside the residence of labour minister Sambhaji Patil-Nilangekar in Latur district.

Protestors blocked a portion of Pune-Solapur National Highway in Solapur, police said.

Farmers in Hingoli district in the Marathwada region, which has witnessed most of the aggressive protests in the last ten days, organised a bullock-cart march to demand quota.

At least 65 protestors were detained in Pune district, a rural police official said. Pro-quota agitators also organised a rally at Junnar in the district, he added.

At least 50 protestors were detained in Madha, Solapur district.

Eleven protestors were detained at Pandharpur when they locked the gate of the Tehsildar office under a “Tala-thoko” agitation. Police took agitators in custody after opening the gate.

Over 150 protestors were detained at Malegaon in Nashik district and 25 at Ambejogai in Beed district.

In every case, protestors were briefly detained under the Maharashtra Police Act and were let off after being “reprimanded”, police said.

The politically influential Maratha caste constitutes 30% of the state’s 12 crore population. The quota agitation had turned violent in the last ten days.

The demands include 50% reservation in jobs and education, implementation of capital punishment to accused in the Kopardi rape case and amendment of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act to prevent “misuse”.

So far, six people have allegedly committed suicide in the state during the ongoing agitation. Eight persons tried to set themselves on fire in Latur district during a protest on Tuesday, but police foiled the attempt.