A 55-year-old farmer who allegedly consumed poison at the time of the protests over the Maratha reservation issue in Aurangabad on Tuesday morning, died at a hospital early on Wednesday, even as the district slowly returned to normal following violent agitation for over two days. Police, however, said that they have not yet found anything to connect the alleged suicide to the agitation.
The farmer, identified as Jagannath Sonawane, a resident of Deogaon Rangari village in Gangapur tehsil of Aurangabad district, had allegedly consumed poison on Tuesday morning, when the agitation was being held.
Agitation were held in Aurangabad after a 28-year-old Maratha youth Kakasaheb Dattatraya Shinde (28), died on Monday, after jumping into the Godavari river from a bridge in Kaygaon Toka village in Gangapur tehsil of Aurangabad.
The incident had taken place during the ‘Jal Samadhi’ agitation by a group of people. After Shinde’s death, the agitation turned violent and a mob set a fire brigade vehicle on fire and staged a road blockade for over 28 hours, which was lifted on Tuesday evening. Superintendent of Police (Aurangabad Rural) Aarti Singh said, “The law and order situation in the district was normal on Wednesday. In connection with the violent incidents on Tuesday, we have registered three offences, for road blockade, vandalism and attack on police.”
When asked about the death of Sonawane, Singh said, “As of now, we do not have any concrete evidence that can connect his death to the agitation. From the beginning of the agitation, our teams videographed the protesting groups in the area. Sonawane is not seen in any of the footage. The probe in the case is ongoing.” Speaking about Shinde’s death, she said, “As of now, the probe is still on into the primary case of accidental death that we have registered.”
An officer from Deogaon Rangari police station said, “Jagannath Sonawane was found unconscious on Tuesday morning at a spot about one kilometre from the place where the agitation was staged. Primary signs had suggested consumption of poison and he was admitted to the Government Medical Hospital in Aurangabad for treatment. He passed away in the early hours of Wednesday. Prima facie it seems to be suicide as a fallout of family issues and agrarian problems.”
Around the same time on Tuesday, another person identified as Jayendra Sonawane (27), allegedly tried to commit suicide by jumping into a dry riverbed. He has been admitted to the Government Medical College in Aurangabad and is being treated for multiple fractures.
Jagannath Sonawane’s last rites were performed under heavy police presence on Wednesday morning at his village. After the death, police have increased deployment of forces across the district to avoid any untoward incident. Internet services in Aurangabad, which were suspended on Tuesday, were restored on Wednesday.