The politically-dominant Maratha community has been holding marches in various cities across Maharashtra in the last month.
Their demands include stern action against the culprits of the Kopardi rape and murder case, reservations for their community, and the scrapping of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
According to The Indian Express report, the BJP-led Maharashtra government is set to recommend to the Centre that changes to the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act be made. This is to ensure that the law is not 'misused' according to the Marathas, who are demanding it.
However, the state government is also asserting that they want to ensure that the rights of the Dalits are not compromised.
Sources for The Indian Express say that Maharashtra government will propose a preliminary verification that should be carried out by the police, before the individual is charged under the Act.
"A group of ministers, led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, has started the process of addressing the demands — not just of Marathas but also of Dalits and OBCs, who are growing increasingly apprehensive in the face of the Maratha show of might,” The Indian Express reported.
Dalit protest in Latur
Dalits have also taken to the streets to mobilise the community against the dilution of the law, in a counter attempt. On Wednesday, crowds protested on the streets of Latur, demanding strict implementation of the Atrocities Act.
The march started at Ambedkar Square and various activists from AIMIM joined in. The march concluded after submitting a memorandum to the district collector, reported Hindustan Times.
"We are not against the Maratha community. We want to get justice for the Dalits," said Vinod Khatake, a Dalit activist, instrumental in mobilising the community, reported Hindustan Times.
Muslims join in
Joining the pitch for quota, the Muslim community has also made demands for reservations in government jobs. This demand was backed by Maratha leaders who praised the community for supporting the Maratha Kranti Morcha by extending help to silent marches and voluntarily joining the marches at different places.
Ajay Bhosale of the Sambhaji Brigade, told The Indian Express that like the Maratha community, Muslims too have a large section that is poor and struggling to get jobs. He said that this is because they have no reservations. He said that the Marathas will support the demands of the Muslim community and that the government should hold a discussion with the community.
First Published On : Sep 29, 2016 12:20 IST