Maratha quotas: Peaceful start to Maharashtra shutdown

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Mumbai, Aug 9 (IANS) The Maratha-sponsored shutdown demanding employment and education quotas started on a peaceful note in most parts of Maharashtra, barring Mumbai Metropolitan Region, officials said on Thursday.

The organisers – Sakal Maratha Samaj and Maratha Kranti Morcha besides other affiliated groups – have appealed to all supporters to ensure a violence-free shutdown and cooperate with the police among others things.

In Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai, only token protests were held, the suburban trains on the Western Railway and Central Railway operated normally.

However, the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corp (MSRTC) decided to suspend its services in most parts of the state to avoid being the target of the activists.

In Latur, Sholapur, Kolhapur, Palghar and several other places, activists blocked road traffic while Pune, Ahmednagar, Washim, Dhule, Buldhana, Nanded, Akola, Parbhani, Jalna, Hingoli, Aurangabad woke up to a total shutdown.

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Although 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.

Internet services were snapped as a precaution in several districts like Aurangabad, Osmanabad and Ahmednagar while protestors staged a sit-in outside the Baramati (Pune district) home of Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar.

There were road blocks on the Mumbai-Goa Highway, Mumbai-Nashik Highway and the old Mumbai-Pune Highway, which remained practically traffic-free due to the shutdown.

In Sindhudurg district, Marathas staged a ‘jail-bharo’ agitation in all sub-districts. They were later let off.

Though exempt from the shutdown, many schools and colleges in the state remained shut as students and teachers could not reach on time owing to the agitation.

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