Maratha Morcha in Mumbai: Roads to avoid, alternate routes to take

Maratha Kranti MorchaMaratha Kranti Morcha

Lakhs of people from across Maharashtra are expected to attend a protest march in Mumbai on August 9, seeking reservations in jobs and education for the Maratha community.

This will be the 58th - and the largest - protest march of the Maratha community, exactly a year after the first march was held in Aurangabad, the organisers told reporters.

So far, 57 protests, in the form of 'mook morcha' (silent rallies), have been held in various parts of the state following the brutal rape and murder of a 14-year-old Maratha girl in Kopardi in Ahmednagar district in July 2016. The morcha will begin at 11 am on August 9 from the BMC's Jijamata Udyan and culminate at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai, the organisers said.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter have been used to spread the morcha message to community members, they said.

The JJ flyover will be closed for traffic tomorrow in view of the morcha, police said.

Maratha Kranti Morcha

The following roads will remain closed:

1. The south bound road of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Road between Dadar Fire Brigade junction to the foot of JJ Flyover will be closed for all traffic (except emergency vehicles).

2.Both north and south bound roads from JJ flyover to CST will be closed for all vehicles.

3.Both north and south bound roads of Hazarimal Somani Marg between OCS junction to CST junction will remain closed for traffic.

4.Both north and south bound roads of Mahapalika Marg between Metro Junction to CST junction remain closed. The right turn for Bhatia Baug will be prohibited.

5.Traffic will not be allowed to go from Carnac Bunder junction towards Carnac Bunder.

The traffic department has suggested alternative routes for commuters which shall remain open:

1.Traffic from King Circle taking left turn to Char Rasta (R.A.K Road) will be allowed.

2. Left turn from Dadar TT towards Char Rasta (R.A.K Road) will be allowed.

3.Left turn at Naigaon crossroad Char Rasta (R.A.K Road) will be allowed.

4.G.D Ambedkar Marg Mane Master Chowk to Char Rasta (R.A.K Road) will be allowed.

5.Traffic coming from Madam Cama Road and taking right turn through Flora Fountain and going to Old Custom House via Kala Ghoda Road to Shahid Bhagatsingh Marg will be allowed.

6. Traffic from N.M Joshi Marg to Lower Parel Railway Station to Haji Ali to Worli Naka is allowed.

7.Traffic on Marine Drive (N.S Marg) via Peddar Road Haji Ali towards Sea Link or from E.Moses Road to Siddhivinayak towards Senabhavan is allowed.

Schools in south Mumbai will remain closed tomorrow as a precautionary measure, an official said. The silent protest is a peaceful way to press demand for reservation in jobs and educational institutions and punishment for culprits in the Kopardi case, the organisers

said. Their other demands include Amendment in SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act) to stop its misuse, loan waiver to curb farmer suicides, and remunerative prices for agricultural produce.

The morcha has been organised by the Sakal Maratha Samaj, an umbrella organisation of several Maratha groups. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to use the Bombay Gymkhana ground adjacent to the Azad Maidan, to handle a large number of people expected to participate in the morcha, an official said.

BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta and Commissioner of Police Datta Padsalgikar had met last week to discuss preparations and necessary arrangements from a security point of view, he said.

Senior Congress leader Narayan Rane told media persons that the procession, starting at 11 a.m. from Byculla, will be peaceful and orderly, silent, have no political speeches and will end at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai by 5 p.m.

After the procession, a delegation will call on Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and submit a memorandum of our demands. The main is reservations for the Maratha community in jobs and education, besides others, he said.

The Marathas have started trooping into Mumbai since early Tuesday from all over Maharashtra to take part in the morcha, 58th in the series of processions being held in different parts of the state since August 9, 2016.

They have been reaching the state capital by trains, private vehicles, trucks, tempos and even two-wheelers, while waving Maratha flags and sporting bright orange turbans.

The Mumbai Police has geared up with over 7,000 personnel, including commandos, armed police, plainclothes officers assigned for providing security during the procession.

There will massive traffic diversions, important roads either closed or made one-way, arterial roads opened, etc, to ensure smooth passage for the procession participants, said Deputy Commissioner of Police Rashmi Karandkiar.

This is expected to result in a chaotic situation on the roads and pressurize the overburdened suburban train network servicing the city, and the organisers have started appealing to people not to step out except for emergencies.

Police plan to make big use of the social media like Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, FM radios and other media to provide updates on traffic to the millions of office-goers who may be affected in the morning and evening peak hours.

Education Minister Vinod Tawde announced that all schools in south Mumbai would remain shut on Wednesday to ensure students are not inconvenienced during the procession.

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The procession, termed as Storm of Marathas from all over the state by the organisers, strategically comes during the ongoing Monsoon Session of Maharashtra legislature, proving a major challenge to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena combine.

The organisers have urged the participants to follow the code of conduct - silent march, no sloganeering or speeches, no banners or placards except the official logo of the umbrella organisation, Maratha Kranti Morcha, to maintain strict cleanliness and refrain from inconveniencing the general public.

The procession has secured support from the Maratha Qaumi Ittehad in Pakistan's Balochistan region which issued a statement Tuesday, besides the Mumbai Dabbawalas and Left parties.

Besides the major demands for reservations in education and employment, the Marathas are demanding minimum support prices for farm produce, and amendment to the Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act which they claim is being misused against the community, especially in the wake of the Kopardi (Ahmednagar) gang-rape incident of August 2016.

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