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Bandh won’t affect essential services: Maratha group

The Maratha Kranti Morcha has asked agitators to adhere to a ‘code of conduct’ and said that the tenor of today’s Maharashtra bandh over the reservation question will be peaceful and that essential services across the State will not be disrupted.

Morcha coordinators across the State, who met in Aurangabad on Wednesday to deliberate on the nature of the shutdown, appealed to protestors to not block highways and indulge in destruction of property, cooperate with police personnel, and not trust rumours.

Meanwhile, the Pune District Administration, said that schools and colleges in rural and urban pockets will remain closed during the shutdown. “All educational institutions, including the Savitribai Phule Pune University, have been notified to remain closed bearing in mind the security of the students,” said Pune District Collector Naval Kishore Ram.

Security arrangements are in place to avoid incidents such as the clashes in the district’s Chakan area. “More than 2000 policemen, 900 home guards, three State Reserve Police Force companies, one Rapid Action Force company and 20 striking platoons have been deployed to ensure the bandh proceeds peacefully. A special meeting has been held in Chakan to nip possible law and order incidents,” said Sandip Patil, Superintendent of Police (Pune Rural).

Maratha outfits had already decided not to stage shutdowns in Navi Mumbai and Thane; they announced that they would also enfore shutdowns in Akola, Hingoli and Parbhani districts. “There have been many cases lodged against demonstrators in Parbhani and Hingoli districts. Hence, activists will only stage sit-ins there,” said Shantaram Kunjir, a Morcha coordinator.

Commuting is likely to be affected in the State’s rural hinterland. Shops are also expected to remain shut.

Suicide in Latur

Even as Morcha leaders issued fresh appeals to end suicides, Ramesh Patil, a school teacher in Latur district’s Matephal village, allegedly took his life because of the delay in reservation according to a suicide note, taking the number of suicide cases over the issue to ten. Patil, a father of three, allegedly took the step because of severe debt and as his children were unemployed despite being bright students, police said.

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