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India

Protests demanding job quotas for Indian minority group Maratha turn violent

Hundreds of demonstrators call for quotas in employment and education for members of the influential community including one who fatally threw himself in front of a train in protest

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 July, 2018, 1:47am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 July, 2018, 2:00am

Hundreds of people demanding quotas in employment and education for India’s Maratha minority burned buses, blocked a motorway and attacked police with rocks on Monday. An unknown number were injured, police said.

Police reinforcements dispersed the angry protesters belonging to the Maratha Revolutionary Front in western Maharashtra state, whose capital is Mumbai. The violence occurred in Chakan, 145 kilometres (90 miles) southeast of Mumbai.

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The Press Trust of India news agency said a 35-year-old man killed himself by jumping in front of a train in Aurangabad, another city in the state. Police officer Natha Jadhav said the protester posted a message on his Facebook page saying he was ending his life to support his demand for job quotas, the news agency reported.

The government had granted the influential Maratha community a 16 per cent quota in jobs and education in 2016, but the decision was struck down by the Mumbai High Court.

The Hindu nationalist government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party appealed the court verdict and plans to pass a new law on the issue. The protesters are demanding that the government expedite the process.

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On Wednesday, thousands of protesters attacked buses, stopped train service and blocked highways in parts of Maharashtra state, including Mumbai, to press their demand.