Pune: Schools, colleges as well as plants of several companies will remain shut in Maharashtra's Pune district in view of the bandh called by the Maratha organisations over their reservation demand. Pune District Collector Naval Kishore Ram in an order issued which said there will be road blockades and processions on Thursday and the possibility of stone-pelting on vehicles and arson cannot be ruled out.
Therefore, schools and colleges have been asked to remain closed on Thursday and an advisory has been issued in this connection, the order said. "Even if there is no untoward incident during the protest, roads might be blocked and we don't want students to be inconvenienced and parents to be anxious unnecessarily," the collector said.
A release issued by the collectorate said during the violence on July 30 in Chakan area, 70 to 80 vehicles were torched and damaged. "Two school buses were also torched in the violence and lives of students were endangered," it said.
In view of the bandh, a majority of the commercial units in the Chakan industrial area have also decided to remain closed on Thursday. "There are over 1,000 companies in the Chakan MIDC area and a majority of them have decided keep their plants and firms shut on Thursday," Chakan police station's senior inspector Santosh Girigosavi said.
He said a meeting was held with members of the Maratha Kranti Morcha, which has been spearheading protests across the state over quota demand, and they have assured that roads will not be blocked. The morcha members have said that a sit-in agitation will be held at one place in Chakan, he said.
The district police have decided to deploy three companies of the State Reserve Police Force and a team of the Rapid Action Force in sensitive areas during the protest.
The politically-influential Maratha community, constituting around 30 per cent of the state's population, has been agitating to press its demand for reservation in jobs and education. The community had earlier taken out silent marches across the state to highlight their demands, prominently for reservation. However, their latest round of agitation has taken a violent turn as protesters have resorted to violence and arson at separate places in Maharashtra.