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Reservation, implementation of Atrocities Act: Dalits, OBCs, minority members hold a silent march in Pune, voice their demands

During the Samvidhan Sanman Mook Morcha, various demands, including those pertaining to reservations for minority and OBC communities, were put forward.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
November 28, 2016 12:03:07 am
Lakhs of people take part in a march in city on Sunday. A representation of 37 demands was submitted to District Collector Saurabh Rao by a group of girls after the march. Express Lakhs of people take part in a march in city on Sunday. A representation of 37 demands was submitted to District Collector Saurabh Rao by a group of girls after the march. Express

OVER A lakh people, including women and youth from Dalit, Other Backward Castes (OBC) and minority communities, participated in a silent protest march in the city on Sunday. During the Samvidhan Sanman Mook Morcha, various demands, including those pertaining to reservations for minority and OBC communities, were put forward.

While the silent march is being viewed as a reply to the protest rallies undertaken by Maratha community two months ago to press for economic and social demands made by the Maratha community, organisers of the Samvidhan Sanman Morcha said that their rally was only seeking a solution for their grievances. “We are not opposing any other group here,” the organisers said.

According to a senior police officer, around one lakh people from various parts of Pune city, district and surrounding areas are estimated to have participated in the march. The organisers, on the other hand, said that over 17 lakh people took part in the morcha.

The Samvidhan Sanman Mook Morcha seeks reservations for minority and OBC communities in employment and education, and stricter implementation of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, also known as the Atrocities Act, among other things.

The morcha started from Deccan Gymkhana area after tributes were paid to the statue of Sambhaji Maharaj around 12 noon. Several groups of women, girls, youth, holding blue and yellow flags, marched via Laxmi Road to reach the Council Hall around 3.20 pm. A representation of the 37 demands was submitted to District Collector Saurabh Rao by a group of 12 girls.

Ganesh Shinde, deputy commissioner of police (Special Branch) said, “The Samvidhan Sanman Morcha was held peacefully across the city. All the rules and terms of the rally were followed by the organisers and participants.”

One of the organisers, Prakash Pawar said, “We estimate the number of people who took part in the rally to be around 17 lakh. There were 37 demands from economic, social and cultural sector. These demands are within the framework of the Constitution. We demand social equality.”

The specific demands of the morcha were reservations for OBCs and minorities, strict implementation of Atrocities Act, special court for cases under Atrocities Act and crimes against women, implementation of recommendations of Sachar Committee for Muslim community, setting up of the memorial of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar in Mumbai on the land of Indu Mill.

Sana Ansari, a third year literature student, who spoke at the rally and was among the girls who handed over the representation said, “Our main demand is reservation for the minority communities. At the rally, I also spoke about hundreds of wrongful arrests of Muslim youth in terror cases. If India claims to have largest armed and police forces, why is there no security to minorities, if India claims to be a booming economy, why is one particular section of the society deprived of employment, why do Muslims have to give proof of them being nationalists?”

Milind Sahkale, a worker of the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh from Sangvi in Pune, “The morcha has also shown the government that OBCs, minorities and Dalits can come together for common social issues.”

As many as 2,000 policemen were deployed on the streets for the morcha. Eighteen important roads in the city were closed due to the morcha from 11 am till 4.30 pm, till the crowd finally dispersed.

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