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Maratha quota stir: Internet services suspended in Pune taluks; schools, colleges closed

Despite a robust security shield, the spectre of vandalism led to educational and business establishments downing shutters in most parts of Maharashtra on Thursday in response to the shutdown called by the Maratha Kranti Morcha.

Internet services were suspended in seven taluks in Pune including Baramati, Shirur, Junnar and Daund as a precautionary measure, said Pune Rural Police. Likewise, Internet services were suspended in Kolhapur, Sangli and Solapur districts in western Maharashtra as well to rein in the spread of rumours and preclude any law and order incidents.

Schools, offices closed

Chakan MIDC, 32 km from Pune, which witnessed an unprecedented bout of violence last week, came to a standstill following the shutdown call. Most IT companies sited in the Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park in Pune’s Hinjewadi area remain closed.

Along with Pune and Ahmednagar districts, schools, colleges, varsities will remain shut in a number of districts in the Marathwada region as well, including Aurangabad, Jalna, Nanded and Beed, say district authorities.

Transport services down

Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) — the district’s municipal bus transport service — has said it will shut down operations at short notice in case of disturbances. The PMPML has already suspended bus services along major routes.

MSRTC (state transport) said will not be playing any buses across Maharashtra until the police give them a clear signal. Bus drivers and conductors were on standby and will commence services as soon as it is deemed safe.

Roadblocks

Pro-quota agitators staged a sit-in outside the Baramati residence of Maratha strongman and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief, Sharad Pawar.

Despite the Morcha coordinators exhorting demonstrators to adhere to a ‘model code of conduct’, the agitation took a hostile turn in Hingoli district where a mini school bus was torched. Reservation activists set up barricades of burnt tyres along Madha-Shetphal road rural Solapur. There were roadblocks at a number of points in Malegaon in Nashik district and Latur in the Marathwada region

Farmers from the Maratha community, along with their livestock, staged roadblocks in some areas in Parbhani district.

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