Man jumps into river for Maratha reservations, drowns

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Aurangabad (Maharashtra), July 23: In a shocking incident, a man jumped into the River Godavari here over his demand for reservations for the Maratha community but subsequently drowned, officials said on Monday.

According to police, the youth has been identified as Kakasaheb Dattatreya Shinde, 28, hailing from Kaanad village in the district.

This afternoon, during an agitation by various Maratha groups at Kaigaon in Sillod, Shinde suddenly leaped into the river demanding reservations from the government.

Despite his own efforts and by rescue teams which followed soon afterward, Shinde failed to survive the plugne in the raging river energized by the severe spell of monsoon in recent weeks.

The incident comes a day after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis bowed out from performing the customary official puja at the famed Lord Vitthal and his consort Rukmini’s Pandharpur Temple, Solapur district on the auspicious ‘Ashadi Ekadashi’ day.

On Sunday, at the last minute, Fadnavis decided against leading the puja celebrations scheduled for Monday, following widespread protests and threats by various Maratha community associations and groups demanding reservations for the community.

Over a million devotees have converged in Pandharpur for the festival and the issue of Maratha reservations also figured prominently during the Monsoon Session of Maharashtra Legislature in Nagpur last week.

On Monday evening, Shinde’s family refused to take his body even as various groups demanded Fadnavis’ resignation and staged roadblocks outside Kaigaon (Aurangabad), Ichalkaranji in Kolhapur and pelting tomatoes at an effigy of Fadnavis in Thane.

Various Maratha groups have announced Maharashtra shutdown on August 9 – celebrated as August Kranti Day – and intensify the agitation going on since nearly two years.