Thousands from the community take out a rally that sees participation from a number of prominent politicians
Members of the Maratha community during a silent protest march in Thane on Sunday. Pics/Atul Kamble
Thousands of people from the Maratha community took out a silent rally in Thane yesterday to demand for reservations. State PWD Minister Eknath Shinde and leaders from the Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP too joined the participants marching towards the office of the district collector. The rally came a day after the ‘Maratha kranti silent morcha’ in Kolhapur.
Day of demands
Several people across the state came to Thane to participate in the rally, carrying saffron flags.
“Marathas constitutes around 35 per cent of Maharashtra’s population, but only 5 per cent of them are living with all facilities. The rest are working in deplorable conditions. So many farmers from our community are dying, but no one comes forward to help... We are peacefully demanding our rights,” said Dilip Shinde, the organiser.
The community’s main demand is to seek quota for its members in government jobs. Punekar Raju Javeri said, “Now, many rich people are seeking jobs and education under SC/ST in spite of those actually in need dying for want of proper facilities. The government needs to support the real poor and underprivileged. It should scrap the current reservation system under the SC/ST.”
In their demands, they also raised the need for a speedy trial in the Kopardi case, wherein a Maratha girl was raped and murdered. The girls who participated handed over a memorandum of their demands to Thane Collector Mahendra Kalyankar.
There are plans to hold rallies in Mumbai to put more pressure on the government.
Smooth and silent
Despite the massiveness of the rally, authorities said, traffic in the area wasn’t disrupted much. Vehicles near Teen Hath Naka and Cadbury junction were diverted to other routes. Also, the litter on streets after the rally was cleaned without delay.
Many prominent politicians also participated in the morcha, NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad, Sena MPs Dr Shrikant Shinde and Rajan Vichare, senior Congress leader Sachin Sawant and NCP leader Vasant Davkhare.
The first morcha was organised in Aurangabad on August 9. It was the immediate fallout of the Kopardi case that happened in July.