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Road traffic was disrupted, schools remained shut in some cities, while Internet services were suspended in Pune district during the state-wide bandh called on Thursday by Maratha outfits in support of their demand for reservation. Despite coordinators of the Maratha Kranti Morcha exhorting demonstrators to adhere to a ‘code of conduct’, there were reports of violence in parts of Pune and in the Marathwada region.A mob vandalised a section of the Pune District Collectorate while traffic along the Mumbai-Pune expressway was held up for several hours during the day as protesters staged demonstrations at the Urse toll plaza.The police also resorted to lathi-charge and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse a mob of nearly 1,000 in the city’s Chandni Chowk area, after they had blocked the Katraj-Dehu Road bypass for several hours, leading to snarls along the Pune-Bengaluru highway.“An aggressive mob of youngsters, aged 18-25 years, stormed the Collectorate premises demanding immediate reservation. Till then, the sit-in agitation [held by the Sakal Maratha Samaj] outside the building had ended without incident,” said Pune District Collector Naval Kishore Ram.The mob reportedly attempted to prevent television media personnel trying to cover the incident.Shantaram Kunjir, one of the Morcha coordinators in Pune, said those who vandalised the security cabin of the Collectorate were not part of their demonstration.In Aurangabad’s Waluj MIDC area, mobs torched a couple of private vehicles and a police van, compelling security personnel to resort to lathi-charge and lob tear-gas shells in the air. In Latur, stones were pelted on the car of Congress legislator Trimbak Bhise. He was also, jeered at and shoved about till he was compelled to beat a hasty retreat.Buses damaged Incidents of stone pelting on State Transport buses were reported from Nashik. According to authorities, the windows of some private vehicles were smashed after a sit-in agitation at Nashik’s Dongre Vasti Gruh Maidan suddenly turned violent. An irate mob heckled and shoved former legislator Manikrao Kokate when heattempted to join the agitation.In Hingoli district, there were reports of a mob torching a mini-school bus, while agitators, along with their livestock, staged roadblocks in some areas in Parbhani district.Schools, colleges shut Along with Pune and Ahmednagar districts, schools, colleges, varsities remained shut in a number of districts in the Marathwada region including Aurangabad, Jalna, Nanded and Beed.As a prudential measure, district authorities suspended internet services in seven taluks in Pune including Baramati, Shirur, Junnar and Daund for the better part of the day. Likewise, there was a clampdown on internet services in Sangli, Solapur and Kolhapur districts in western Maharashtra as well.In Chakan MIDC, which witnessed a bout of violence last week, drones were deployed to as a precautionary measure. Most IT companies in the Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park in Pune’s Hinjewadi area remained closed.Pro-quota agitators staged a sit-in outside the Baramati residence of Maratha strongman and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief, Sharad Pawar. NCP leader Ajit Pawar later joined the demonstration and raised pro-reservation slogans.The Mumbai-Pune expressway witnessed markedly reduced vehicular movement while the traffic all but came to a standstill along the Pune-Ahmednagar road.Roadblocks were also erected at a number of points in Malegaon in Nashik district.
Dreaded dacoit Jagan Gujjar, facing over 100 cases of robbery, kidnapping and looting and carrying a reward of ₹40,000 on his head, surrendered before the police in Rajasthan’s Dholpur district on Friday. Gujjar, 49, involved in criminal activities in three States, was hiding in the Chambal ravines.Police said a .315 bore rifle and five cartridges were seized from Gujjar’s possession. He was earlier arrested several times since 1994, and was released on bail. The police had recently launched an operation to arrest him when reports of his attacks on villagers in Dholpur’s Dang area surfaced earlier this month.Director-General of Police Kapil Garg said the policemen who confronted the dacoit during the operation and forced him to surrender would be felicitated. Gujjar surrendered near a temple in the Basai Dang police station area of Dholpur district.Rashtriya Loktantrik Party chief and Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal had raised the issue of Gujjar’s criminal activities in the Lok Sabha recently and demanded his immediate arrest.In the rural belts of Uttar Pradesh adjoining Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, his trail of loot and terror evoked images of Gabbar Singh, the iconic dacoit of the film Sholay. Gujjar had many cases registered against him in these States.(With IANS inputs)
Senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde on Tuesday stayed away from a crucial meeting of party’s MPs, MLAs and MLCs from Maharashtra, convened by state chief Sudhir Mungantiwar in the wake of the former’s rebellion. Party’s leaders however maintained that he would continue with the party and differences would be sorted out soon.The meeting followed speculation that after failing to get the party leadership to concede to his demands, Munde – the BJP’s deputy leader in the Lok Sabha – was on his way to join the Congress.After the meeting, Munde supporters left for his residence in Worli for further discussion over the issue. Leader of Opposition in the assembly Eknath Khadse said he was confident that Munde would not leave the party.Munde’s legislator daughter Pankaja Palve also sought to play down reports of her father breaking away from the BJP. She said there has been no offer to join any other party from anyone.In Delhi, former BJP chief Rajnath Singh said Munde would remain in the party and differences would be sorted out soon.Party spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain said central leadership’s talks with Munde were positive. Denying any knowledge that Munde was in talks with the Congress, he said, “Gopinath Munde was in Delhi where he met with senior leaders. Talks are positive and still underway. We will let the press know further developments.”Earlier, a meeting of the BJP top brass at senior leader L.K. Advani’s residence on Monday evening had apparently failed to convince Munde. Sources said the Pune BJP chief’s post, where Gadkari loyalist Vilas Mathkari was appointed over Munde’s candidate Yogesh Gogawale, remains a problem area with both the leaders from Maharashtra refusing to budge.advertisementFor more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.