Continuing with their agitation in various districts of Maharashtra, members of the Maratha community took out a huge silent march in Sangli pressing for reservation in educational institutes and government jobs besides demanding strict action against culprits of the Kopardi rape case.
According to organisers, around 7-9 lakh people from all walks of life congregated for the march, under the umbrella of ‘Maratha Kranti Muk Morcha’.
BJP MP Sanjaykaka Patil, party MLA Sudhir Gadgil, Congress leader Patangrao Kadam, NCP leader Jayantrao Patil and other prominent political leaders were among those who participated in the march.
The protest march, which began from Deccan Visharambagh area and culminated at the Collector office here lasted for two hours.
Upon reaching the office, a group of girls submitted a memorandum along with a charter of demands to Sangli District Collector Shekhar Gaikwad.
Police said that the march went off peacefully in a disciplined manner with free food and water made available by volunteers of various organisations for the protesters.
The community, pre-dominant in Maharashtra politics, has been taking out silent marches in various towns of the state over last one month, following the rape and murder of a girl at Kopardi in Ahmednagar district two months back. The victim girl was a Maratha, while the culprits were Dalit.
The community leaders have also been demanding scrapping of the SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act), saying that it is grossly misused, and also reservations for Marathas in educational institutes and government jobs.
Earlier, the Maratha rallies in Navi Mumbai, Akola, Latur, Nanded, Nashik and Pune districts drew massive crowds.
Besides capital Mumbai, the Maratha community is now planning to hold a protest rally at Chiplun in Ratnagiri district of the coastal Konkan region on 16 October, where lakhs of members are expected to participate.
(With inputs from PTI)