Protest Turns Violent
Amidst growing tension and criticism, a peaceful protest demanding Maratha reservation in Jalna took a violent turn on Friday. The incident unfolded in Antarvali-Sarati village in the district, where a group of Maratha activists, led by one Manoj Jarange-Patil, had been on a hunger strike for four days.
As Jarange-Patil’s health deteriorated due to the prolonged strike, the local police attempted to shift him to a hospital. However, this attempt led to a clash between the protesters and the police, resulting in a chaotic and violent situation.
Reports indicate that around 40 police personnel, including six women officers, were injured during the clash. The tension quickly spread to other parts of Jalna district, escalating into a political controversy.
The incident soon turned into a political battle between the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition, consisting of the Congress, Sharad Pawar-led NCP, and Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, and the opposition Mahayuti coalition led by Eknath Shinde, Devendra Fadnavis, and Ajit Pawar.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde ordered a probe into the incident, while MVA leaders demanded the resignation of Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The situation became increasingly contentious, with both sides presenting their perspectives.
“As Jarange-Patil’s health was deteriorating, it was the administration’s responsibility to get him medical aid. Police attempted to do so on Thursday, but people gathered around him said he should be shifted on Friday. When police went to the venue, some people started throwing stones at them. Many police personnel were injured, after which they resorted to lathicharge and burst teargas shells to disperse the unruly mob,”
– Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis
Following the incident, Deputy Chief Minister Fadnavis, who also serves as the home minister of the state, revealed that the police had acted in response to the deteriorating health of Manoj Jarange-Patil. He stated that the administration’s duty was to provide medical assistance to Jarange-Patil and that the police attempted to do so on Thursday.
However, when they returned to the venue on Friday, they encountered resistance, with some individuals throwing stones at them. In response to the escalating violence, the police resorted to lathicharge and used teargas shells to disperse the unruly mob.
The latest information from the home department of Jalna district indicates that police superintendent Tushar Doshi has been sent on forced leave. All injured police personnel have been transferred to the government hospital in Aurangabad, and the situation on the ground has been brought under control by local police.
Special Inspector General of Aurangabad, Rane Dyaneshwar Chavan, provided additional details, stating, “A total of 21 women officers and 43 jawans were injured. A total of 64 officers were injured. To disperse the violent mob, we used justified force. A total of 40 protesters have been arrested. Buses have been burnt, and we are conducting a thorough investigation. Additional force has been deployed in the area, and we are maintaining vigilance.”
The incident in Jalna has sparked controversy and drawn attention from both political leaders and the public. As investigations continue and tensions simmer, the focus remains on finding a resolution to the issue of Maratha reservation and ensuring that such protests do not escalate into violence in the future.