The Republican Party of India (Athawale faction), an ally of BJP in the Centre as well as in Maharashtra, Friday expressed its support for demand of reservations for the Maratha community in the state. However, on the demand of scrapping the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 by the upper caste Maratha, RPI, which mainly represents Dalits, said it can be reviewed but can not be done away with.
Mahendra Shirke, vice president of RPI(A) who heads the Maratha front of the party, said the party had already condemned the rape and murder of a girl in Kopardi village in Ahmednagar district in July.
The accused in the Kopardi incident were Dalits while the girl was a Maratha.
The incident had sparked an outrage among the politically dominant Maratha community, with many ‘Muk Morchas’ (silent marches) of the community all over the state over the past month.
The community’s main demands are scrapping of Atrocities Act and reservations for Marathas in jobs and education.
Shirke said, “There are some Maratha leaders who were in the power for a long time and are now unhappy with the BJP government in the state as well as at the Centre. Hence, they are trying to intensify such rallies to put pressure on the state government.”