Pune: Maratha Kranti Morcha brought the city to standstill on Thursday as the agitation took a violent turn. Leaders from various political parties have condemned the violence and have held criminal-minded people responsible for inciting it. Some said that the violent outburst was a result of lack of visible leadership.
Ajay Shinde, Pune city unit chief of MNS, said, “Every community needs leadership, especially during agitations. However, during the Maratha Kranti Morcha, leadership was not seen and we saw violence in few parts of the city and the State.”
Vandana Chavan, Rajya Sabha MP and city unit chief of NCP, held criminal elements responsible for the violence. She said, “The earlier protests by Marathas were peaceful. On August 9, Kranti Morcha officials conducted an agitation in several parts of the State peacefully. But in some areas, criminal elements got involved in the agitation. In a democracy, everyone has the right to express their views, but violence is not acceptable.”
Ramesh Bagwe, city unit chief of Congress, held the State government responsible for the violence. He said, “Today’s agitation was a result of frustration and anger in the Maratha community. The State government is responsible for that. If the government would have kept their promises, this would not have happened. They conducted more than 50 agitations in a peaceful manner. So, such kind of reaction was anticipated. We cannot predict mob psychology. The violence is the handiwork of criminal elements and the community should not be held responsible.”
Neelam Gorhe, legislator from the Shiv Sena, said, “It is a spontaneous expression of people. The process of Maratha reservation got delayed as a result of inaction of earlier governments. However, we are in power at this moment. Shiv Sena has expressed its support for the reservation. I feel pained due to whatever has happened.”
Yogesh Gogawale, BJP city unit chief, supported the Maratha community’s demand for reservation. He said, “The Maratha community deserves reservation. Their demand is genuine and the State government is taking all possible efforts to fulfill it through the court of law. Each one has the right to conduct peaceful agitations, but there should not be any scope for violence.”