Mumbai: Police in Maharashtra are gearing up to prevent violence during the bandh (shutdown) called by Maratha organisations demanding reservations in jobs and education on August 9, a senior police official said on Wednesday. There would be heavy deployment of security personnel, especially in sensitive pockets where violence had taken place during the agitation earlier, the official added.

The Union home ministry has already provided additional security forces to the state. “We had demanded 15 companies. But the Centre sent seven — six of Rapid Action Force (RAF) and one company of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)," the official said. The state police force had a strength of 2,00,000, including the State Reserve Police Force personnel, he added. Home Guards, too, will be deployed to assist the police.

“People will be allowed to stage protests peacefully," said the police official quoted above. “In case they found any suspicious activity, it should be reported to the police immediately," he added.

Marathwada and Western Maharashtra as well as Navi Mumbai and Thane near Mumbai had witnessed maximum violence during the Bandh called by Maratha organisations last month, the official said. Between July 18 and July 27, 276 cases of violence were registered across the state during the quota agitation. There were incidents of stone pelting at over 250 places and 198 incidents of arson. More than 4.5 crore of public and private property was damaged within 10 days, the official said.

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