Pune: After facing a strong backlash from the society, the Maratha Morcha organisers have taken a softer stand and on Friday declared that the protests will no more be organised on the streets and will rather follow a legal and peaceful method to get their demands across. The Maratha protests had taken the State by a grip on Thursday, causing property and vehicle damage.
After the announcement of massive protests across the State on August 9, which is also celebrated as ‘Kranti Din’, there were tensions prevailing across the State as to what kind of reaction the Maratha community will display. Even after repeated appeals of the organisers to maintain peace, splinter groups of protesters went violent in many parts and caused damage to property and vehicles. Some journalists too were manhandled in the process.
The organisers of the Maratha Kranti Morcha, held a press conference on Friday and apologised to the media. “We, as organisers, have been involved for decades in the cultural sphere of the city. We are known to have maintained a dignified method of protests, even during the last year’s Maratha rallies, the Pune rally had put ahead of an excellent example. We apologise to the people and the media for the misbehaviour of some miscreants who entered the morcha and are unknown to us,” claimed Shantaram Kunjir, one of the conveners.
“We had not anticipated such a participation in the protest rallies. We had planned the protests to ensure that the crowds remain in control and had focused the rally at the District Collector’s office between 11 am and 1 pm only,” Kunjir said.
“Even after we announced that the protests have ended and appealed everyone to return home, these miscreants tried to vandalise property and create a nuisance. These were surely people planted by some ‘external powers’,” he alleged.
Kunjir said the protests will be peaceful henceforth. “We have shown the strength of our numbers and henceforth we will not carry out street protests. We will come up with a strict code of conduct to ensure that the protests hereafter remain peaceful and disciplined,” he said, adding, “If the cases against the innocent youth in our protests are not taken back, we will carry out a ‘chul bandh’ (No cooking) protest from our homes on August 15.
Thereafter, there will be chain protests across the State and legal methods will be used.”
When asked who the ‘outside powers’ are according to them, Kunjir said, “We do not know and that is not our job to find. The police will find out who are the miscreants and what their affiliations are. We will also not take a political stand as that is not our purpose. We will remain apolitical and the Maratha community will never support the miscreants and rather catch such anti-social persons and hand them over to the police.”