Pune: Against the backdrop of the ongoing Maratha agitation across the State to demand quota in government jobs and education, the Dhangar community will up the ante over a similar demand soon as the Samast Dhangar Samaj has announced to launch a 100-day agitation from August 1 (Wednesday) demanding inclusion of the community in the Scheduled Tribes category.
Representatives of the organisation Prakash Khade, Gopichand Padalkar and Uttam Jankar on Monday addressed a press conference in the city and revealed their plan. They said that the agitation will be conducted peacefully.
Currently, the community is included in the Nomadic Tribes (NT) category in the State while it is considered an Other Backward Caste (OBC) by the Central government, said Khade.
Padalkar said, “The community had supported the BJP in the 2014 elections. Now, the State government has asked the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to conduct a study on the Dhangar community and file a report. This is just a ploy to deny us our legitimate right by creating legal complications. For the past 70 years, around 1.5 crore members of the Dhangar community have been waiting to be included in the ST category.”
Jankar said, “We collected data under the Right To Information (RTI) Act from different government administrative departments across the State. We didn’t find a single person belonging to the Dhangar community. The State government claims that there are 93,000 Dhangar community people in the State. This claim is made to deny us reservation rights. We are demanding that criminal cases be filed against such bogus community (Dhangar) people, who have got the benefit of reservations.”
Khade said, “We will launch the 100-day agitation from August 1. We will hold a public meeting of the Dhangar community on Karve Road. We will decide our action plan on August 1. Later, we will conduct another public meeting on September 1 in Aurangabad and on October 1 in Nagpur. Our agitation will be peaceful and we will conduct it through constitutional ways. We have set a deadline of 100 days for the State government to take a final decision on our demand.”