Mumbai was engulfed by a ‘Maratha storm’ as millions of the politically powerful community prepared for their first, biggest and final mammoth ‘mook Morcha’ (silent procession) to demand reservations in jobs and education, here on Wednesday.
This will be the 58th — and the largest-protest march of the Maratha community, exactly a year after the first march was held in Aurangabad. The Morcha began at 11 am from the BMC’s Jijamata Udyan and culminate at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai at 5 pm.
While the authorities anticipate the participation of between 500,000-800,000 Marathas from across the state, the organisers are optimistic it will be the jewel in the crown of all morchas so far with the figure crossing three million.
What is the silent protest about?
The silent protest is a peaceful way to press the demand for reservation in jobs and educational institutions and punishment for culprits in the Kopardi case, the organisers said.
Their other demands include Amendment in SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act) to stop its misuse, loan waiver to curb farmer suicides, and remunerative prices for agricultural produce.
The Marathas have been holding silent marches in different parts of the state to press for their demands, including punishment for culprits in Kopardi rape and murder case, quota in education and government jobs, Amendment in SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act) to stop its misuse, loan waiver to farmers to curb suicides, and guaranteed rate for agricultural produce.
According to Bhor Patil, before the march, a meeting will be held in Kopardi village in Ahmednagar district on July 13 in memory of the Kopardi gang-rape and murder victim.
Who organised the march?
The Morcha has been organised by the Sakal Maratha Samaj, an umbrella organisation of several Maratha groups.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter have been used to spread the Morcha message to community members.