Morcha condemns violence, appeals for peaceful methods 

ST Correspondent
Wednesday, 1 August 2018

The organising body of the Maratha Kranti Morcha (MKM) on Tuesday condemned the violence that took place in the state, especially the violence that happened in Chakan on Monday, during the ongoing Maratha agitations. 

Pune: The organising body of the Maratha Kranti Morcha (MKM) on Tuesday condemned the violence that took place in the state, especially the violence that happened in Chakan on Monday, during the ongoing Maratha agitations. 

The body with a number of representatives of the community and claiming to be apolitical, said that it is trying to appeal to the protesters to stay calm and protest “within non-violent and democratic means”. 

The Maratha community has been asking for reservations, resolution of the agrarian crisis, dilution of the Atrocities Act and other demands. The community had taken an aggressive route recently and this new tone of protest caused damage to property. 

“The protests happening are out of a general frustration in the community, the only reason why it got out of hands is that the people have been misled by the government time and again. We never supported any violent means and never will. The protesters in Chakan had completed their protest and were going back when the violence started,” said Tushar Kakade, of the Shivsangram and MKM member, adding, “We enquired through our sources and can say for sure that those who indulged in violence were outsiders, probably even non-Maharashtrians, deployed by anti-social elements.” 

Kakade said, “Even though the protests have taken a life of their own all over the state, we have been making regular appeals to try and keep the protests non-violent. We had the intuition that many outside elements were trying to disrupt the protest by creating violence and malign the image of the community, and so had asked people to record suspicious activities. In Chakan, the outsiders snatched and damaged more than 100 mobile phones and beat up a journalist too as they were recording the whole incident. We are sure they were not Maratha protesters.”
 
“We are making an appeal to the community to stay peaceful and show restraint in their protest. We, as the representatives, have also decided that henceforth, up to August 9, to hold non-violent protests only,” said Shantaram Kunjir, another MKM member, adding, “We appeal all our units to organise a sit-in protest outside the residences of their local MLA or MP and submit a letter of demands to them. The sit-in will be necessarily non-violent.” 

The MKM has said that it will protest in a non-violent way until August 9, demanding the government take back charges against the agitators all over the state, after which if the government does not respond, it said it “does not know what may happen next”. The Pune MKM will organise a sit-in outside the house of Guardian Minister Girish Bapat on August 2, followed by a sit-in outside MP Anil Shirole’s residence.

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