Maratha community to organize rallies to change SCST Act

KOLHAPUR,Sept6: After organising rallies in Marathwada and North Mahrashtra in protest against the rape and murder of a girl from Kopardi, the Maratha community will now organise rallies in Sangli, Kolhapur and Satara over the next one month.

Since last month, the community has carried out rallies with the demand for a change in the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, claiming that it is being misused. The Act protects those belonging to SC and ST from the atrocities committed by the upper caste.

Recently, the Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar said that the rallies of the Marathas should not be ignored and the government should take steps to address their concerns.

A ‘silent march’ will be carried out on September 27 in Sangli, wherein several organisations, political leaders and industrialists will participate.

Local leader Sanjay Desai said, “Lakhs of Marathas are protesting against the Kopardi incident. Misuse of the act is on the rise in the Vidharba and Marathwada regions, so we will organise a march to express solidarity with the community that is facing such incidents.”

Maratha leaders from Satara also called for a meeting of all the organisations on September 11 to fix the date for organising a rally. The leaders expect participation of over one lakh people from the Maratha community for the march.

In Kolhapur, the Maratha community youths have started a campaign on social media for a rally. Ajit Patil, an engineer who shifted from Mumbai to Kolhapur, started talking to organisations to gather support.

District president of Maratha Mahasangh Vasantrao Mulik said, “The demand for organising a huge rally is increasing among the youth. We have communicated to all the organisations working for the Maratha community to gather support. We will meet on Wednesday to discuss the strategy and fix the date for the march.”

Mulik has refused the claims made by various quarters that the rallies which are organised are against Dalits. He said, “We are against the misuse of the atrocity act. The rally will also appeal to the government to approve our long pending demand of reservation and policies to uplift the poor from the community.”

After huge rallies organised in Marathwada and North Maharashtra, Maratha community is going to organise rallies in Sangli, Kolhapur and Satara over the period of next one month.

Since last one month, the rallies have been organised in Parbhani, Beed, Aurangabad, Beed and Jalgaon by Maratha community to protest incident of rape-murder of a girl from Kopardi. The community since then is demanding changes in the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act claiming that act is being misused widely. The act came into force to give legal protection to the people belonging to SC and ST from the atrocities committed by upper caste people.

 The recently published National Crime Record Bureau report reveals that while the cases of atrocities are increase in the state, the culprit is hardly convicted. Recent statements of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar saying that the voice coming out of the rallies should not be ignored and government should take necessary steps to address the concerns had invited wide criticism.
In Sangli, ‘Silent March’ will be taken out on September 27 and various organisations, industrialists and political leaders are coming out to participate in the rally.
Sanjay Desai, local leader while addressing a meeting held in Sangli on Sunday said, “Lakhs of Marathas are moving out on roads to protest against Kopardi incident. The misuse of the atrocity act is on rise in Vidharba and Marathwada region. We are going to organise march to express solidarity with the people of community facing such incidents.”

The Maratha leaders from Satara have called the meeting of all the organisations on September 11 to fix the date for organising rally. In several such meetings at local level, the leaders are explaining the need of the march and are arranging for the vehicles to ferry the protesters from rural areas to the city. The leaders expect the participation of over one lakh people from Maratha community for the protest march.

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