Mumbai Maratha Kranti Morcha: Expect smooth railway commute as extra trains are plying today | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Mumbai Maratha Kranti Morcha: Expect smooth railway commute as extra trains are plying today

The silent march will start from Mumbai’s Byculla zoo and conclude at Azad Maidan

mumbai Updated: Aug 09, 2017 09:20 IST
The organiser — Sakal Maratha Samaj (SMS), the umbrella body of various Maratha community organisations — has asked participating Marathas to reach out to at least 50 members daily and convince them to attend the rally.
The organiser — Sakal Maratha Samaj (SMS), the umbrella body of various Maratha community organisations — has asked participating Marathas to reach out to at least 50 members daily and convince them to attend the rally.(Photo for representation)

South Mumbai is likely to come to standstill on Wednesday as the Maratha community holds a silent rally from Byculla zoo to Azad Maidan. Schools in south Mumbai have been asked to remain shut and extra train services will ply to ease commuter congestion.

This is likely to be the last rally for the community, which has been demanding reservation in government jobs and education.

This is also the community’s third attempt to hold a rally in Mumbai after the first two failed following internal differences.

The silent march will start from Byculla zoo at 11am and conclude at Azad Maidan. And you can expect large numbers to attend.

The organiser — Sakal Maratha Samaj (SMS), the umbrella body of various Maratha community organisations — has asked participating Marathas to reach out to at least 50 members daily and convince them to attend the rally. They have also spread the message on Whatsapp.

The state government has decided to shut all the schools from South Mumbai. “Schools have been directed to remain shut for a day to avoid traffic snarls,” said Vinod Tawde, school education minister.

Central Railway (CR) is going to run extra suburban trains on main and harbour lines on Wednesday.

CR will also attach additional general second class coaches to nine long-distance trains travelling via Western Maharashtra and Vidarbha. Railway sources said the extra coaches would be added to Sahyadri Express, Kanyakumari Express, Nandigram Express, Devgiri Express and other trains.

By Tuesday evening, community members started trooping into Mumbai on trains, cars, trucks, state transport buses etc.

“We are expecting lakhs of people at the march,” said Sanjiv Bhor Patil, one of the organisers.

The organisers hope to attract at least 20,000 people from each district.

Maratha, a major influential community in Maharashtra has been agitating for reservation which could affect political equations in the state. The community protests across state stirred the Maharashtra politics for several months last year, which was started against rape and brutal murder of a minor girl from the community at Kopardi in Ahmednagar district on July 13 last year.

The community members had carried out massive 54 rallies demanding death sentence for the accused, dilution of the Atrocities Act (Prevention of Atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Tribes Act), reservation in government jobs and education for the community and many others such demands. The silent protest rallies in which thousands of people especially the youths participated became huge talking point.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Narayan Rane tried to highjack leadership of the massive rally which was rejected by the organisers. Rane held a press conference declaring that a 25-member delegation will meet the chief minister Devendra Fadnavis with charter of demands before terminating the rally. The delegation will comprise organisers and political leaders.

However, rejecting this, Bhor Patil said all their demands along with solutions are already with the state government. “We are not going to take any delegation to anywhere. Rane can do whatever he likes to. We are not associated with him,” he said.

“From our side, only a bunch of girls will address the crowd at Azad Maidan and no other will be allowed to sit on the dias,” Bhor Patil said.

To control huge crowd, the organisers will deploy around 10,000 volunteers from Mumbai that were trained for the job at the Shivaji Mandir office at Dadar.

In addition, the volunteers coming from other districts will also help, said Virendra Pawar another organiser.

A code of conduct for the community members participating in the march has also been issued. This includes no sloganeering, members will have to maintain silence, they will have to help women and senior citizen and dispose garbage.

To mark the first death anniversary of the Kopardi girl, who was raped and brutally murdered last year, the Maratha community had also organised a candle march in Mumbai on July 13.

The silent rally is also getting support from across the political spectrum, including the BJP. Many political outfits such as the Shiv Sena and Rashtriya Samaj Paksha have openly supported the rally.

Rattled with the development, the ruling party legislators have moved debate on the demands of the Maratha community, which is expected to come up for discussion in both the Houses of the state legislature on Wednesday.

Last week, an all-party delegation of around 35-40 legislators met the chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and requested him to accept demands being raised by the Maratha community. Many senior leaders from across political parties are also expected to participate in the rally.

For handling law and order situation, the railway authorities are deploying 75 extra jawans of Railway Protection Force on certain suburban stations. Of those the highest 30 Jawan’s would be deployed at CST, 12 at Masjid and eight at Bhyculla, besides others at few more stations.

Highlighting that they are also going to open extra windows at CST to avoid inconveniencing people, Railway spokesperson said the top bosses of CR are is constant in touch with the state authorities and they will take every possible step for avoiding troubles to regular commuters as well as people participating in the strike.

“Elaborate arrangements have been made Mumbai Division for crowd management at CR stations. Based on inputs on number of people who will go back to their destination after the rally probably after 2 pm, we will run additional suburban services as per requirement as run during peak hours,”said Sunil Udasi, chief spokesperson of CR.

Udasi said they will keep two long distance trains comprising of 12-14 general second class compartments ready in Mumbai. After the morcha, they will run those as special trains towards Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Terminus, Kolhapur from Mumbai. One of those will be run via Karjat, while another via Manmad station.

Even several routes of Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) buses will remain affected and diverted because of the morcha.

Pravin Darekar, BJP legislator, who was also part of the delegation, said the rally is not related to any political party, but it about a community. “CM said he will consider all their demands except the one pending before the court about giving reservation,” Darekar said, adding he will also be participating in the rally.