AFTER HOLDING a series of demonstrations in the Marathwada region, the Maratha Kranti Morcha (MKM) took their agitation seeking reservation for the community to the state capital on Sunday.
Motley groups of activists staged peaceful demonstrations in more than 20 places across Mumbai and its eastern and western suburbs throughout the day amid tight police security.
At Shyam Nagar in Jogeshwari East, MKM members, equipped with saffron flags and banners, assembled early morning and shouted slogans like ‘Ek Maratha, Lakh Maratha’ (one Maratha is equal to a lakh). Another group of activists held a demonstration outside Plaza Cinema at Dadar Central. Protests were also held across Ghatkopar, Kurla, Chembur, Mankhurd, Bandra, Borivali, Kandivali, Goregaon, Mulund, Vikhroli, Parel, and Lower Parel.
“We are holding demonstrations to ensure our voice reaches to those at the helm. So far, we have adopted peaceful protests. We want the government to concede our demand and implement Maratha reservation,” MKM coordinator Virendra Pawar said. Rajendra Kondarne, another MKM coordinator, said, “We are making a rightful demand. It should be fulfilled.”
MKM leaders, however, warned that anger over the issue runs deep and if it remained undecided, the protests could get violent, especially in the rural belts. At Hingoli in Marathwada, a pro-Maratha organisation Sunday threatened to gherao MLAs, MPs and ministers.
“Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is requesting us not protest. But what option has the government left before us?… Maratha reservation deals with career and employment of lakhs of youths, and therefore, the MKM is fighting for the rights of the community,” an MKM member said.
Last week, the Supreme Court passed an interim order staying implementation of 2018 Maharashtra law granting Marathas 12 per cent reservation in education and 13 per cent in jobs. The top court made it clear that the status of those who have availed of the benefits will not be disturbed.
Members of pro-Maratha outfits have since been demanding that the state government take steps to continue reservation for the community in jobs and education.
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