THE Jalna district administration on Friday said the police lathi-charged on protestors seeking reservation for the Maratha community during a hunger strike in Antarwali village only after the mob turned violent and started pelting stones, in which at least 45 police personnel were injured.
“At least 45 police personnel were injured when the mob pelted stones at them. The mob also torched 20 state transport buses on the Dhule-Solapur highway,” District Collector Shrikrishna Panchal told this paper.
Panchal said all the 45 police personnel have been admitted to the local civil hospital. Throwing light on the incident, Panchal said, ”The Superintendent of Police, the additional SP and the sub-divisional officer, among other officers, had gone to the village where the protestors were on a hunger strike. They held discussions with those on hunger strike.”
“They tried to hospitalise Manoj Jarenge Patil, a local Maratha leader who is spearheading the hunger strike, as his condition had deteriorated. The police had requisitioned the services of government doctors. However, the agitators said they will call their own doctors. Jarenge-Patil said if he was medically fit, then he will not go to the hospital,” said Panchal.
The collector added, “There was difference of opinion between those on hunger strike and the police over shifting Jarenge Patil to hospital. The police wanted to shift him to hospital but he was not ready. After this, the mob started throwing stones. In retaliation, the police resorted to lathi-charge.”
Asked whether it was necessary for police to resort to lathi-charge, Panchal said, ”As per what the Chief Minister has said, only a probe will reveal what led to the incident.”
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