Guwahati (Web team): The protest demonstration organized by the Assam unit of BJP against the…
Shailesh Gaikwad and Yogesh Joshi, Hindustan Times, Mumbai/Pune:The protests organised by groups from the Maratha community
demanding action in the Ahmednagar rape case over the past few days have created a flutter in the state’s political circles and caused unease in the ruling camp.
On Tuesday, a massive protest march was held at Beed. Two similar protest marches were organized in Aurangabad and Osmanabad in the recent past. All three cities are in central Maharashtra or Marathwada. The response to these silent protests marches, especially among youths in the Maratha community, has rattled many in the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena camp. The commonly asked question in the state’s corridors of powers is — Are the Maratha community groups planning something similar to what Patels did in neighbouring Gujarat?
The marches were held to protest the brutal rape and murder of a minor from the community in Kopardi village of Ahmednagar in north Maharashtra. The three accused belonged to the scheduled caste, sparking anger in the dominant Maratha community in Ahmednagar district, which has a history of caste-based violence. There was also a demand to scrap the Atrocities Act (Prevention of Atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Tribes Act—a stringent law that was enacted to stop violence against socially backward classes). Soon, protests started in Marathwada region, which borders the Ahmednagar district. Similar protests are now planned at nine other cities to press for various demands including the repeal of the Atrocities Act.
Significantly, politicians are not leading these protests, which are being held under the banner a newly floated non-political outfit, Maratha Kranti Samiti. The protests are just silent marches.
Pravin Gaikwad, head of Sambhaji brigade — an aggressive Maratha outfit — said silent protests are being organized in various districts of western Maharashtra, north Maharashtra and Vidarbha.