Pune: Thousands of members of the Matang community came onto the streets to attend a massive protest rally organised to demand protection from the frequent instances of caste-based violence against the community and to press for various other demands on Saturday. The Matang Mahamorcha saw opposition as well ruling party leaders of the community participating.
The protest rally began from the Annabhau Sathe memorial near Sarasbaug and ended at the District Collector’s office. The rally saw presence of more than 50,000 people coming from various parts of the State to press for the demands of the community. The protest rally was carried out in a systematic and peaceful manner.
The rally was mainly to protest against frequent instances of caste-based violence that the community faced in recent times, such as a bridegroom from the Matang community being beaten up in a village in Latur for having entered the temple during his marriage ceremony and the infamous incident of two minor boys being beaten up for swimming in the well in Wakdi village of Jamner taluka.
The protesters were also demanding the classification of the bundled SC/ST reservations among the A, B, C and D subdivisions in respect to the population of that particular caste. Other demands included the reversal of the relaxation of the SC /ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, action against the perpetrators of the Koregaon Bhima violence and declaring a Bharatratna award to Shahir Annabhau Sathe. Also, the protesters demanded a memorial for Lahuji Salve at Sangamwadi and submitted a letter of demands to the collector.
The protest rally also saw the presence of Ramesh Bagwe of the Congress as an organiser, along with State Minister for Social Justice Dilip Kamble.
Other leaders like Avinash Bagwe, Bhagwan Vairat, Subhash Jagtap and Deputy Mayor Siddharth Dhende and others were also present during the protest.