Watch: Protesters Set NWKRTC Bus on Fire Amidst Maratha Quota Protests

Maratha quota protests turn violent in Maharashtra as agitators set a Karnataka bus on fire, raising safety alarms.

Protesters set NWKSRTC Bus on Fire in Maratha quota violence

In a disturbing turn of events, a North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) bus, carrying 45 passengers, became one of six vehicles set ablaze during the Maratha community’s protests for reservations in Maharashtra’s Jalna district.

The Karnataka-bound bus, en route from Aurangabad in Maharashtra to Hubballi, Karnataka, was forcibly halted by protestors who demanded passengers and crew disembark before setting the bus on fire and pelting it with stones.

Bus driver LL Lamani, from Ramdurga in Belagavi, recounted the ordeal, “We were behind an MSRTC bus headed for Lathur when both the vehicles were stopped by agitators. Passengers were forced off, and then the buses were set ablaze. A mob of about 200-300 individuals threatened to set us and the bus on fire if we didn’t comply with their demands, compelling us to follow their instructions for our safety.”

The protests, centered on securing reservations in education and employment for the Maratha community, gained momentum as Manoj Jarange from Antarwali Sarati taluk in Jalna district embarked on an indefinite fast on August 29.

Approximately 150 villages, including 130 along the Godavari river in Bid district, rallied in support of Jarange’s protest.

As Jarange’s health deteriorated, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde reached out and appealed for an end to the fast, but received no response.

Tensions escalated when police attempted to forcibly move Jarange to the hospital, resulting in physical altercations and injuries to civilians and law enforcement personnel.

Ganesh Rathod, Senior Divisional Controller of the North West Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (NWKSRTC) in Belagavi, ensured the safety of passengers from the torched bus.

They were relocated to safer locations using other Maharashtra government buses and subsequently transferred to Karnataka state buses.

Rathod also emphasized ongoing communication with their Maharashtra counterparts regarding the safety of Karnataka buses operating in Maharashtra, albeit with temporary suspensions in services to Aurangabad and Jalna districts.

At least 20 MSRTC buses were torched by agitated protesters till now.

45 Bus Depots Across Maharashtra To Remain Shut Because of Maratha Protests

Amid escalating protests demanding Maratha reservations, over 20 buses belonging to the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) have been set on fire since Friday evening.

In response to the protests, 45 out of MSRTC’s 250 depots have been temporarily closed. MSRTC spokesperson Abhijit Bhosale reported, “Bus depots in Beed, Jalna, Parbhani, Osmanabad, and Ahmednagar are completely shut.

So far, 20 buses have been set afire during the Maratha reservation agitation. At other places in Maharashtra, the movement of buses is normal.”

The agitation supporting a man on a hunger strike for Maratha reservations in Jalna’s Ambad tehsil took a violent turn on Friday when police used batons and tear gas to disperse protestors on the Dhule-Solapur road.

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