A book binder, a national-level scuba diver, a businessman and a property consultant are among those from Thane who will participate in the Maratha morcha on Wednesday. At least 2,000 protesters from Thane will join lakhs of others marching from Byculla to Azad Maidan. “We do not have a leader. We met through this movement and in fact got introduced to many Marathas around us,” said Dilip Shinde, coordinator of the rally from Thane.
Their demands are the same as those of Marathas elsewhere — reservation for the economically backward Marathas in jobs and higher education, skill development, including vocational training and voicing their grievances at the alleged incorrect use of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 against them.
“We were a part of different Maratha mandals and organisations in Thane. In October last year, when a small rally was hosted in the city, we tried to create awareness among our acquaintances to encourage better participation. Since then, we have extended support to other state rallies,” said Sachin Kadam, a property consultant in Thane.
The 57 rallies in the past have made officers sit up and look at their demands and concerns, they believe. “Now, when we approach a government officer for permissions related to morchas, they sit up and listen. The rally also gave us confidence to speak for our rights,” said Pramod Utekar, a diver, who has represented India at the international scuba events.