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Maratha quota stir: Various factions of Maratha Kranti Morcha in Maharashtra at odds about staging 9 August protest

As Maharashtra gears up for a Maratha protest on Thursday, various factions of the Maratha Kranti Morcha, the organisation that has been spearheading the cause, have decided not to go ahead with the strike.

One of the main demands of the community is reservation in government jobs and education. The statewide district coordinators of the Morcha are committed to conducting a 'thiyya andolan'.

Hindustan Times reported that a group from the Maratha community has declared a one-day shutdown in Mumbai on 9 August, after Sakal Maratha Samaj, an umbrella body of all the Maratha outfits, announced peaceful protests in the Maharashtra capital on the same day.

Amol Jadhavrao, who is leading Sakal Maratha Samaj, said they will shut the city down from midnight on 8 August for 24 hours as part of their ongoing protest for reservation.

 Maratha quota stir: Various factions of Maratha Kranti Morcha in Maharashtra at odds about staging 9 August protest

File photo of Maratha Kranti Morcha members protesting in Solapur. PTI

“We will observe a Mumbai bandh peacefully on 9 August. There will be no violence at all. No emergency services will be obstructed during the bandh,” Jadhavrao said.

The Thane unit of the Maratha Kranti Morcha said it would hold a rally from Talav Pali to the district collector’s office on Thursday.

However, the Navi Mumbai unit of the Morcha will not hold any protests on Thursday, according to a report by The Indian Express. “The violence in Navi Mumbai during the 25 July bandh had claimed the life of a youth. Several cases were registered against youngsters of Maratha community. In such a scenario, we have decided not hold any protest as a precautionary measure,” said Narendra Patil, NCP legislator and convener of the Morcha in Navi Mumbai.

Nanasaheb Kute, convener of the Morcha in Mumbai said, “We have decided to hold a sit-in protest outside the office of the Mumbai Suburban Collector in Bandra (East). It will be a peaceful protest from 11 am to 2 pm with protesters wearing black badges. Then, we will hand over a letter containing our demands to the collector and leave."

“Those who won’t be able to come to the protest site, can go to work wearing black badges,” said Kute, adding that everyone have been instructed to be cautious of anti-social elements participating in the protest. “If we find anybody, we will hand him over to the police immediately," The Indian Express quoted him as saying.

Even though the Maharashtra government is expecting a peaceful agitation, six Rapid Action Force (RAF) companies and one Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) Company will be deployed in various parts of Aurangabad, Nanded and western Maharashtra, according to a report by Times Now.

In Amravati, schools will remain closed as a precautionary measure. In Pune district, a precautionary holiday has been declared for schools and colleges on 9 August.

The faction that has been leading the stir in Parli decided to withdraw their protest till 30 November, which is when the Devendra Fadnavis government has said that it will meet the community's demands.

The Times of India reported that the Morcha leaders of the Aurangabad and Latur factions disagreed with Parli faction's leader Abasaheb Patil's decision to suspend the stir. The protesters demanded a written undertaking from the chief minister saying that their demands will be met by November-end.

The leaders said they have decided to suspend all communications as part of the protest. "The state government has not only failed to implement its promises made to the Maratha community before the 2014 assembly elections and in the last four years but also delayed the procedure of withdrawing police complaints filed against the Maratha youth across the state," said Vinod Pokharkar, a leader of the Maratha Kranti Morcha.

The politically influential Maratha community, constituting around 30 percent of Maharashtra's population, has been agitating to press their demand for reservation in jobs and education under the OBC category.

In a related development, the Bombay High Court appealed to members of the Maratha community on Wednesday to refrain from resorting to violence or committing suicide over their demand for reservation in government jobs and education.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Aug 08, 2018 18:51:53 IST

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