Chavan escapes unhurt as Maratha activists battle police

February 19th, 2009 - 1:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Pune, Feb 19 (IANS) At least 15 people, including six policemen, were injured in a clash between the police and Maratha activists demanding reservation for their community in government jobs at the venue of an official function being attended by Chief Minister Ashok Chavan near Pune Thursday.
Pune (Rural) acting Deputy Superintendent of Police Kamlakar Deshmukh told IANS that around 200 Maratha activists demanding reservations threw stones when they were prevented from barging into the the government’s official function to mark the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji at Shivneri Fort, about 90 km from Pune.

Chavan reached the fort in a helicopter soon after the protesters began pelting stones but he and all members of his entourage escaped uninjured, Deshmukh added.

The activists of the Marathas Mahasangh Coordinating Committee (MMCC), the umbrella body of all Maratha groups in the state, wanted to lodge a protest at the venue since the function was to be attended by Chavan.

Deshmukh said the chief minister’s helicopter was not stoned since it landed some distance away from the site of the clash in which six policemen were injured.

Among the injured police officials are Superintendent of Police (Pune district) Ravindra Kadam, Additional Superintendent of Police Ashok Morale and Inspector R. Rasal, whose condition is said to be serious. So far no arrests have been made in connection with the incident.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Jayanti function was held shortly after the clash ended.

MMCC chief Vinayak Mete told IANS on phone from the fort that at least 10 party activists were injured.

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