Organisers of the Maratha march have postponed their proposed final silent rally in Mumbai, earlier slated to be held on March 6. This is the second time that the community has postponed a rally in the city, citing differences over organising it.
Organisers said the march was put on hold as it would have clashed with the Class 10 and Class 12 examinations. The decision to postpone the rally was taken at a meeting held in Aurangabad on Sunday. The organisers said the march may be pushed to April, but the exact date will be finalised at a meeting to be held in Mumbai in the next few days. Sources said the organisers were worried about that the march would be met with a poor response, owing to the success of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the recently held civic polls.
In the meeting, attended by a few hundred community leaders from various districts, differences of opinion emerged over the Mumbai protest once more. The organisers were worried about how residents would react to a march expected to disturb the city’s lifeline.
Organisers also expressed concerns over whether students would be inconvenienced if the march progressed as scheduled.
“It is true that differences of opinion emerged, but the decision to put the protest on the hold was taken unanimously,” said legislator Narendra Patil, one of the organisers. “Besides the exams, polls will be held to elect the chairmen of bodies in the district councils and mayors in municipal corporations. These elections are expected to take place in the first week of March. Our leaders will be busy during these elections. The response to the march was never an issue for us, but we were worried about disturbing the daily lives of residents. It could bring us ill-repute and would go against the character of the Maratha marches, which have been conducted peacefully until now.”
Sudhir Sawant, an organiser, said the decision was taken after all the facts were considered and the authorities requested them to change the date of the march.
The community has held more than 25 massive rallies since August last year, in which lakhs of people belonging to various districts have participated.
The Maratha community has demanded reservation in education and government jobs,as well as a review of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, stringent punishment for the Kopardi rape accused, construction of the Shivaji statue in Arabian sea and the implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission regarding the agrarian crisis.