On­line push gets Marathas on streets SO­CIAL ME­DIA PRES­ENCE

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Faisal Ma­lik faisal.ma­lik@hin­dus­tan­times.com

As many as 50,000 What­sApp groups, a web­site, a Face­book page, Twit­ter han­dles and mo­bile apps all with the name of Maratha Kranti Mor­cha run by around 1,000 young­sters are driv­ing the huge silent protest marches by the Maratha com­mu­nity, which have taken over the po­lit­i­cal and so­cial land­scape of Ma­ha­rash­tra in the past month-and-a-half.

In­sid­ers told HT the move­ment, which ini­tially started with the help of just cir­cu­la­tion of mes­sages on What­sApp has turned into a full-fledged so­cial­me­dia driven exercise that now also in­cludes the use of drone cam­eras to broad­cast a live feed of ral­lies.

“In the be­gin­ning, when protests were held in Au­rangabad and Os­man­abad, the main­stream me­dia ig­nored and shunned us. That’s when we de­cided to rely on so­cial me­dia to spread the mass move­ment. And we have proven that the so­cial me­dia plat­form can be used in a pos­i­tive way, the main­stream me­dia is too bi­ased,” said Bhaiya Patil, a co-or­di­na­tor from the so­cial me­dia team of the move­ment.

THE CEN­TRAL COM­MAND A cen­tral war room, work­ing from an undis­closed lo­ca­tion, works on de­sign­ing mes­sages that are to be cir­cu­lated on the What­sapp groups, be­sides up­dat­ing the web­site, Face­book page, Twit­ter han­dle and mo­bile app with news and videos about the protests and up­com­ing events. All so­cial me­dia de­ci­sions are fil­tered from here.

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