Marathas to begin fresh round of protests from Aug 20

ST Correspondent
Sunday, 19 August 2018

The Maratha community has been protesting for almost a year, demanding reservation coverage under the OBC category

Pune: Maratha Kranti Morcha (MKM), the organising body of the Maratha agitations, has declared that the community will hold a fresh round of agitations in the coming days for various demands that allegedly have remained unfulfilled even after several attempts of the community to pressurise the government. The body held a press conference on Saturday to announce their further strategy. 

The Maratha community has been protesting for almost a year, demanding reservation coverage under the OBC category, dilution of the Atrocities Act, implementation of the Swaminathan communication report and other such demands. Hundreds of Maratha youth had been booked for property damage and violence during the recent agitations, following which, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that the reservation issue would be resolved by November. 

The MKM has since been demanding that the charges on the Maratha youth be taken back. The body is now preparing for a fresh round of agitations, which will see members of the community sitting on a protest outside the Pune Council hall for an indefinite period. The protesters will gather before the Council hall on August 20 and then continue to do a sit-in there until their demands are met.

Shantaram Kunjir, Rajendra Kondhare, Tushar Kakade, Pravin Gaikwad and others of the MKM addressed the media regarding the further strategy. “We have not supported and will not support violence and property damage. We have always tried to conduct protests in a disciplined manner. But we also think that the youth, who reacted violently during the protests, did so out of frustration because of the injustice done to them,” Kakade said, adding, “They are young and slapping charges like attempt to murder will affect their careers and make criminals out of them.”

“We want the government to understand this fact and take back the charges on the innocent protesters and to mellow down the charges on those who indulged in any kind of aggression,” Kakade said, adding, “We also want the government to pay compensation to the families of the 30 plus Maratha youth who committed suicide during the agitations and provide employment to their family members.”

Strict code of conduct 
The Maratha Kranti Morcha has come up with a strict code of conduct for its protesters to avoid violence and chaos this time around. The diktats issued include arranging the protest in a disciplined manner, coming to the protest leaving behind political affiliation, not giving inciting speeches, no misbehaviour, picking up garbage after the rally and handing over miscreants to the police forces. This, according to the organisers, will be a strict code to be followed across the State.

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