Maratha protests: Signs of rift as groups spar over credit | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Maratha protests: Signs of rift as groups spar over credit

As the Maratha stir picks up momentum across the state, questions over credit for the state-wide mobilisation of the community has started causing rifts within

mumbai Updated: Oct 06, 2016 02:32 IST
Yogesh Joshi
The state-wide Maratha agitation that has rattled the government may be picking up momentum, but a row over credit among Maratha outfits may dampen the spirit.
The state-wide Maratha agitation that has rattled the government may be picking up momentum, but a row over credit among Maratha outfits may dampen the spirit.(HT PHOTO)

As the Maratha stir picks up momentum across the state, questions over credit for the state-wide mobilisation of the community has started causing rifts within.

One such row is at the origin of the protests in Ahmednagar. A month ago, the Ahmednagar police served an externment notice to Sanjeev Bhor, the founder of the Maratha outfit Shivprahar Sanghatna that first started the agitation in the state. In the notice, the police asked him why he should not be banned from Ahmednagar, Nashik, Pune, Solapur, Beed and Aurangabad in view of his “criminal background”.

Bhor has alleged the externment notice was the government’s way of trying to suppress the agitation that his outfit began and called a bandh in Karjat on Wednesday.

The delayed response to the notice, however, got another Maratha outfit called the Sambhaji Brigade hitting out Bhor for politicising the protests. The Brigade said the bandh call was a “publicity stunt” and refused to support it. With seven other outfits, it wrote to the Ahmednagar district collector on Tuesday saying the notice to Bhor had nothing to do with the various marches taken out by the community.

Brigade spokesperson Shivanand Bhanuse said notices to activists were routine matters and the bandh called to protest the police action were a distraction from the main cause the Marathas have been agitating for. “By claiming he was the brain behind the Maratha stir, Bhor is politicising the issue,” Bhanuse said during a debate on Marathi news channel Maharashra1.

Bhor hit back, accusing the Brigade of double-standards. He claimed the community never supported such outfits.

“I was the first to mobilise the community by taking out the protest march. That march later turned out to bring together the entire community,” Bhor said.

The notice issued to Bhor states his presence in the five districts could threaten “communal harmony” and cause a “law and order problem” owing to the various criminal cases, including attempt to murder, against him. A decision on the notice is expected on October 17.

Earlier, differences cropped up over the demands raised by Chhatrapati Shivaji’s descendent Udayanraje Bhosale about the prevention of atrocities act and reservation.