‘Outsiders responsible for violence’

Prathmesh Patil
Sunday, 12 August 2018

The morcha took pride in calling itself an apolitical and leaderless during the 58 long silent marches that were carried out last year. This year, as the protests took an aggressive turn, the leaderless nature, seems to have hampered the discipline of the protests as the organisers found it difficult to control the entry of ‘outsiders’ and keep the protests non-violent.

Pune: The Maratha Morcha organisers, under tremendous pressure and in a damage control mode, have taken a stand that they will not let any agenda that is hateful towards other communities, enter the protests, hinting at the involvement of nuisance making right-wing groups like Sambhaji Bhide’s Shivpratishthan Hindustan, in the violence that happened on August 9.

The morcha took pride in calling itself an apolitical and leaderless during the 58 long silent marches that were carried out last year. This year, as the protests took an aggressive turn, the leaderless nature, seems to have hampered the discipline of the protests as the organisers found it difficult to control the entry of ‘outsiders’ and keep the protests non-violent.

Organisers are clearly pointing fingers to outside elements. 
“We have no doubt that there were planted protestors and outside nuisance makers present in the spots of the protests. They were arrogant, uncontrollable and misbehaved even with the conveners who have worked for 20-30 years for the community,” said Pramod Adsul, of Pune unit of MKM.

“As I was personally going around the city to check the nuisance and such infiltration, on Satara Road, I saw a well built person wearing a kurta and a bamboo stick in his hand. As a rickshaw passed by him, he attacked it with the stick. We went ahead and stopped him and asked him not to behave like this,” Adsul narrates, adding, “When violence happened at the collector’s office, we again saw the same person there. He was not known to any of us who have been working on this issue for almost a decade now.”

“We can’t deny the possibility that people from right wing organisations such as Shivpratishthan Hindustan of Sambhaji Bhide, were involved in creating nuisance. Many were raising demands like the Uniform Civil Code and abolition of the reservation system, which have never been our demands,” said Prashant Bhosale, an MKM activist from Sangli.

“The Muslim community and the Dalit communities, have both shown great support to our cause during the agitations. We have no doubt that such aggressive and hateful comments could only be made by planted protestors. We were and will remain apolitical, but it is the political forces who have never raised a voice for us that are trying to take credit for the protests,” said Tushar Kakade, another convener. 

Senior Police Inspector MM Mujawar said that the police are investigating the links and affiliations of the 81 people that have been arrested. He said, “Most of the arrested nuisance makers are youngsters and are students. They mostly don’t have any criminal background. Their links, if any, to any ideological organisations are a part of our investigations and will be revealed later.” 

The organisers said, that they will not fight for the release of nuisance making elements. 

“We are only helping the youths who are innocent and were non-violently protesting at Deccan Chowk. We will not seek relief for those who have aided in maligning the image of the community and caused nuisance at the collector office and Chandni Chowk,” Adsul said  Kakade said, “Many of them are miscreants. But their parents are asking us to help their children for the sake of the community. We will try our best and side with justice.”

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