The Maratha community on Sunday took its statewide campaign for demands, including reservation, to the doorsteps of Mumbai by organising a huge ‘silent march’ in the adjoining Thane district, which was joined by Minister Eknath Shinde and leaders of Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP. A day after the ‘Maratha kranti silent morcha’ in Kolhapur, the community members on Sunday gathered in large numbers at Teen Hath Naka in Thane and marched in rows towards the district collectorate, located about five kms away.
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The participants, carrying saffron flags and several placards for their demands, and children and elders dressed as Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji, walked through the Gokhale road and other main streets of the city. A large number of women and youths also participated in the morcha in Thane on Sunday. Five young girls from among the participants led the morcha. Banners and mega hoardings having the slogan ‘Ek Maratha, Lakh Maratha’ were put up at several places in Thane.
Over 1,500 police personnel were deployed to man the crowd. Elaborate security arrangements and traffic diversions were effected by the police in view of the rally. Elaborate arrangements of medical facilities, water supply and parking lots were made for the smooth conduct of the event. Today’s morcha is said to be a prelude to the rally that will be taken out in the state capital Mumbai, the schedule for which has yet not been announced by the community.
The girls leading the morcha handed over a memorandum of their demands to Thane Collector Mahendra Kalyankar. Prominent among the politicians who participated in the morcha were Thane Guardian Minister Eknath Shinde, Shiv Sena MPs Dr Shrikant Shinde and Rajan Vichare, NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad, senior Congress leader from the state Sachin Sawant and NCP leader Vasant Davkhare.
The Marathas have been demanding quota for community members in government jobs and education, scrapping of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and speedy trial in the Kopardi case wherein a Maratha girl was raped and murdered.