Mumbai: Even as tension is quietly brewing in Maharashtra over the Maratha silent morchas, a show cause notice to the movement's leader Sanjiv Bhor from the Ahmednagar police might push the state into a complicated law and order situation.
After around two months since the Maratha Kranti silent morchas were successfully carried out across 24 districts in the state, the government is now gearing up to prevent a similar march in the future.
What could worry the state government is that the Marathas are not willing to give up the agitation anytime soon unless their demands are fulfilled.
An engineer by training, Bhor (42) left his job in 2009 and embarked on a social mission to educate his community on the alleged misuse of the Atrocity Act against them. A former member of the Sambhaji Brigade, he later went on to found the Shivprahar Sanghtan as became its founder president.
Bhor is already in the headlines by naming all the four alleged rape accused suspected to be behind the heinous crime that happened on 13 July at Kopardi in Ahmednagar. The incident was so barbaric that a Firstpost piece quoting The Asian Age said the victim was a ninth standard girl and her body was badly mutilated.
In the show cause sent to Bhor, the police sought to know why the Shivprahar Sanghtan president should not be banned from the six districts of Ahmednagar, Pune, Solapur, Beed, Aurangabad and Nashik. The notice has put a huge question mark on the silent morchas.
The notice stated that his presence in these districts could create a serious "law-and-order problem", "threaten communal harmony and national integration". Bhor, who is a strong advocate seeking reservation for Marathas has sought capital punishment for the accused in the Kopardi gangrape and murder case.
Talking to Firstpost, Bhor confirmed that he received the show cause notice signed by Ahmednagar, assistant police superintendent, Chinmay Pandit.
"Despite such notice, the state government cannot end the Maratha silent March. I am ready to face anything for my community. I already replied to the notice and I will challenge it," Bhor said. "The next hearing before the magistrate is on 17 October. Police fear that if I stayed in any of these six districts then there might be law and order problem," he said.
The Shivprahar Sanghtan president said that all the offences which the police labelled against him are two years old and two offences were registered in last three months. All these offences are related to agitation and damage to public property.
The notice pointed out that Bhor had organised meetings without the consent of the authority and blamed him for causing social disharmony by creating a rift between the SC/ST and upper caste community.
Bhor also criticised the role of the mainstream media while covering the Maratha agitation.
Well known lawyer Satish Maneshinde has even threatened to challenge the government in the courts and is ready to fight for Bhor and other activists who find themselves in similar circumstances without charging any fee.
Talking to Firstpost, Maneshinde said that there was neither violence and nor any issue related to public hygiene as mentioned in the show cause.
"There was no traffic problem as well. But I heard that Ahmednagar police sent a show cause notice to Bhor. This is illegal. How can the police send a notice?" Maneshinde questioned. "Is he a criminal or doing any criminal activity? So I decided that whenever the cases on such brave activists will come I will fight against the government free of cost across the state. Even I am from the same community. Does the Devendra Fadnavis government want to rule the state like Gujarat?" he asked.
To calm down tempers, Chief Minister Fadnavis has decided to call a one-day special session to discuss reservation for the Maratha community and review the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Meanwhile, the next morcha is scheduled on 15 October in Kolhapur while the Mumbai one is planned after Diwali and before the commencement of the Winter Session of the Assembly.
"The government is under immense pressure to handle the demands of Maratha community," said a senior IAS official unwilling to be named.