Inspired by Gujarat's Patidar movement, Marathas to resume agitation for reservation, 'move on' from silent marches

Drawing inspiration from the Patidar movement in Gujarat, Maratha community outfits announced that they will resume their agitation against the government's failure to deliver on their demands, and will begin the movement on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's birth anniversary on 19 February, media reports said.

On Monday, community leaders in a state-level meet in Panvel decided to name their new agitation "19 se 2019 tak" — from Shivaji’s birth anniversary in February to the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in 2019, Hindustan Times reported. The report quoted the leaders as saying that the government has failed to fulfil its promises to meet the community’s demands within four months, referring to the resolution achieved after protests culminated in a silent march on 9 August.

 Inspired by Gujarats Patidar movement, Marathas to resume agitation for reservation, move on from silent marches

File image of the silent march on 9 August. Firstpost/Sanjay Sawant

However, the community leaders expressed satisfaction over the lower court’s decision sentencing all three accused in Kopardi case to death, which was one of the demands raised during 58 mega rallies organised by the community over the past year, The New Indian Express reported.

The report added that the leaders also warned that the community would take out a rally at the state Assembly during the upcoming budget session in February 2018, and wouldn't let the House function.

"We have decided to adopt different forms of agitation, by moving on from silent marches, if our demands are not met by 10 February. Patidars have shown their strength in the Assembly elections in Gujarat. We are a much bigger community by comparison and are all set to showcase our power," another Hindustan Times report quoted Virendra Pawar, one of the conveners of the meeting, as saying.

Pawar added that the government had earlier announced it would include 605 courses in scholarship schemes for economically backward classes, but has dropped medical courses from this list.

Reservation in education and government jobs, scholarships for students in the community, setting up of higher education and research institutes in the state, loan waivers to curb farmer suicides, and avoidance of abuse of the SC and ST (Prevention Of Atrocities) Act are some of demands put forth by the Maratha community to the government.

On 9 August, lakhs of people from across Maharashtra attended the largest protest march of the Maratha community in Mumbai seeking fulfilment of these demands. With more than five lakh members of Maratha community and an additional 10,000 vehicles that entered Mumbai from cities like Pune, Nashik, Kolhapur, Raigad, and Satara, the silent March crippled the city's traffic.

Updated Date: Dec 27, 2017 10:41:12 IST