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Security beefed up over Maharashtra bandh for Maratha quota

Elaborate security arrangements have been made in view of today’s Maharashtra bandh called by the pro-quota Maratha organisations, a senior police official said. The protests held by Maratha groups last month had witnessed large-scale violence and arson in various parts of the state.

The government has deployed six companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF), one company each of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) at sensitive locations, the official said.

Home Guard personnel are also being deployed to assist the police at various places, he said. Maximum number of local police personnel will be deployed across the metro cities and at sensitive locations in Aurangabad rural, Pune rural and western Maharashtra, he said.

Marathwada, western Maharashtra, Thane and Navi Mumbai had witnessed maximum violence during a bandh called by Maratha organisations last month to press the community’s demand for reservation.

He said the police have appealed to activists to hold protests in a peaceful manner and not take the law into their hands. There is a possibility that anti-social elements could infiltrate the protests for causing a disturbance, he added.

He said the police will videograph the protests and maintain a strict vigil in various areas in Mumbai and other parts through CCTV cameras. Police personnel in plainclothes will also be deployed among the protesters, he said.

The police will also keep an eye on social media posts during the shutdown, the official said, adding that a call to suspend internet service in an area will be taken depending upon the situation.

Maharashtra Chief Secretary D K Jain reviewed the security measures ahead of the bandh. In a meeting held in Mantralaya, Jain interacted with senior police officials, railway security forces and senior administrative officials regarding the preparations made to avoid any untoward incident.

Jain asked the officials to ensure that suburban railway services run smoothly and that schools and other essential services are not affected during the bandh, an official said. Marathas, a politically influential community that constitutes around 30 per cent of the state’s population, have been demanding 16 per cent reservation in government jobs and education.

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