CM’s Sops Fol­low Maratha Rally

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

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Our Po­lit­i­cal Bureau

Mum­bai: The city saw one of its big­gest ral­lies as the Maratha com­mu­nity from across the state con­verged at Azad Maidan near Ch­ha­tra­p­ati Shivaji Ma­haraj Ter­mi­nus bring­ing large parts of Mum­bai to a stand­still. The march billed as the mother of all ral­lies as around 8 lakh peo­ple vis­ited Azad Maidan.

The rally ended up throw­ing the en­tire city’s trans­port sys­tem off gear. For in­stance, the en­tire East­ern Ex­press Free­way had a huge traf­fic jam for hours. Trains es­pe­cially on the Cen­tral and Har­bour routes were also jam­packed as mem­bers of the com­mu­nity used it to reach By­culla. The Marathas have been hold­ing ral­lies since Au­gust protest­ing against the al­leged gang-rape and mur­der of a mi­nor girl from the com­mu­nity by a few Dalit men. The protesters made a list of its de­mands to the gov­ern­ment, in­cud­ing reser­va­tion in ed­u­ca­tion and jobs for Maratha com­mu­nity, amend­ments to t Sched­uled Castes and Sched­uled Tribes (Pre­ven­tion of Atroc­i­ties) Act, which the Marathas al­leged is be­ing mis­used against them by the Dalit com­mu­nity. The com­mu­nity has also de­manded a min­i­mum sup­port price for their farm pro­duce. The com­mu­nity has been care­ful not to let politi­cians hi­jack the is­sue. On Wed­nes­day, the protesters tore the ban­ners of MNS, Shiv Sena and other par­ties wel­com­ing them to Mum­bai. So much so that Mum­bai BJP chief Ashish She­lar, who be­longs to the com­mu­nity, was booed out from Azad Maidan when he went there in the morn­ing. She­lar was also al­legedly man­han­dled. How­ever, he later de­nied that such an in­ci­dent had oc­curred.

Speak­ers com­pris­ing mostly young girls dis­cussed the Kopardi in­ci­dent on stage and de­manded that the cul­prits be pun­ished. They also as­sailed the gov­ern­ment for not tak­ing mea­sures to en­sure them reser­va­tions in ed­u­ca­tion and jobs. Later in the day. a del­e­ga­tion of Maratha lead­ers sub­mit­ted a mem­o­ran­dum to Chief Min­is­ter Deven­dra Fad­navis along with an all-party del­e­ga­tion. Fad­navis ac­cepted their de­mands,which in­cluded build­ing hos­tels for Maratha stu­dents in dis­tricts and land for Ch­ha­tra­p­ati Shahu Ma­haraj Re­search, Train­ing & Hu­man De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tute.

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