Mumbai: After showing off its might through silent marches in parts of Maharashtra, the Maratha community has now decided to organise a bike rally in the city on 6 November to press for their various demands.
This event is being seen as a prelude to the community's "biggest" ever silent march, which is planned to be held in Nagpur during the winter session of the state legislature next month.
Meanwhile, talking to PTI, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said most of the demands of the Maratha community are "just" and the government has initiated steps to address their discontent.
Giving details, Virendra Pawar, one of the organisers of the Maratha event, said, "We have decided to hold the biggest ever silent protest in Nagpur on December 14, during the winter session of the state Legislature. If the government does not pay heed to our demands even after that, we will carry out a maha morcha in Mumbai, which will break all the records."
"Until the Nagpur rally happens, we have decided to carry out a Janajagruti bike rally in Mumbai on November 6, where we expect around 15,000 to 20,000 bikers to participate," he added.
Pawar said the rally will commence from KJ Somaiya ground in Sion at 9 am and will culminate near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station after passing through Matunga, Dadar, Parel, Lalbaug and Byculla areas.
"The rally will not pass via fly-overs and we will ensure that law and order situation does not arise. All our bikers will follow rules and ensure a proper system, just like we have been following in our past rallies," he said.
People from other districts of the state will also take part in the bike rally.
Talking about the community's demands Fadnavis said, "Most of the demands of the are just and the government has started taking measures to address the Maratha discontent."
The Maratha community, which is a dominant force in Maharashtra politics, has been taking out silent marches in various towns in the state over the last one month, following the rape and murder of a girl at Kopardi in Ahmednagar district in July.
The community leaders have been pressing for scrapping of the SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act), saying it is grossly misused, and also raised other demands like quota in in education and jobs.
Fadnavis said, "Our Rajarshee Maharaj scheme has benefited all those belonging to all communities, who were earlier left out. On the one hand we are fighting for Maratha reservation in court, and on the other we have told them that even if reservation is granted, for private colleges, where three lakh seats available, they will have to pay the fees, while in government colleges only 30,000 seats are available."
Other demands like justice to Kopardi gangrape victim is being taken care of, he said, adding that the case is being looked into on priority basis.
The Chief Minister added that as regards concern for the Shivaji Maharaj memorial, tenders have been invited.
"We have been working a lot in the last two years to tackle farmers' issues. About the Atrocity Act, I have clarified that we cannot repeal the Act, but I have spoken to Dalit leaders and they have agreed that if somebody is misusing the Act, we should find a way and see to it that it is not misused," he said.