As much as 10 lakh people have engulfed Mumbai as ‘Maratha storm’ marches towards Azad Maidan conducting ‘mook morcha’ (silent procession) demand reservations in jobs and education, on Wednesday.
Started since August 9, 2016, with processions in 57 different cities, the Maratha Kranti Morcha made its maiden entry in the state capital and ended the year-long campaign through processions by submitting a memo to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The state government, police, BMC and other agencies were fully geared since the past 24 hours as participants in the mega-morcha started trickling in from different parts of the state since Monday night.
While the authorities anticipate participation of between 500,000-800,000 Marathas from across the state, the organisers are optimistic it will be the jewel in the crown of all morchas so far with the figure crossing three million.
Highlights of the day:
05: 00 PM IST | Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis met representatives from Maratha Morcha and leaders from all political parties.
Speaking to the media, Fadnavis said, “the matter referred to Backward classes commission which will do a study of the feasibility of giving reservation to Maratha community.”
03: 40 PM IST | A delegation representing Maratha Morcha along with Vinayak Mete, Shiv Sangram party leader has arrived at Vidhan Bhavan to meet Maharashtra Chief Miniter Devendra Fadnavis. They will be speaking with the reflecting on their demands.
Maratha community leaders have also issued a stern warning to state Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) that this will be the last ‘silent’protest. In case the government does not pay heed to their demands — likely to be presented to the authorities by the end of the day today — Maratha Kranti Morcha will have to resort to ‘aggressive’ protests.
02: 35 PM IST | At least 10,000 doctors from across the state of Maharashtra have supported the rally and are part of the silent protests. Many of them are also equipped with medical kits to assist anyone falling sick.
The Indian Medical Association has confirmed the presence of around 30% of their doctors part of the Morcha after taking leave from their respective hospitals.
Even 500 schools have been shut as the calls for the rally was announced.
02: 15 PM IST | Maratha community leaders have also issued a stern warning to state Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) that this will be the last ‘silent’protest. In case the government does not pay heed to their demands — likely to be presented to the authorities by the end of the day today — Maratha Kranti Morcha will have to resort to ‘aggressive’ protests.
01: 55 PM IST | Reportedly the police is using drones to ensure a peaceful protest in Mumbai.
01: 30 PM IST | Besides the major demands for reservations in education and employment, the Marathas are demanding minimum support prices for farm produce, and amendment to the Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act which they claim is being misused against the community, especially in the wake of the Kopardi (Ahmednagar) gang-rape incident of August 2016.
01: 15 PM IST | Notably, the famous Mumbai’s dabbawalas have will also participate in the rally showing their strong support to the processions and announced that they will not work.
12: 45 PM IST | Traffic management map for Maratha Kranti Morcha rally.
12: 05 PM IST | The Mumbai Police have geared up with over 7,000 personnel, including commandos, armed police, cops in plainclothes, assigned for providing security duties during the procession.
The police plan to make big use of the social media like Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, FM radios and other media to provide updates on traffic to the millions of office-goers in the morning and evening peak hours.
All schools and colleges in south Mumbai were ordered shut by Education Minister Vinod Tawde on the day to ensure students were not inconvenienced during the procession.
11: 35 AM IST | The Maratha Kranti Morcha will start the march from Byculla, south Mumbai in a peaceful and orderly manner, silently (moot rally), without political speeches and terminate at the historic Azad Maidan some four kms away at 5 PM.
Notably, the procession has bagged the support of all the political parties with even the NDA constituents Shiv Sena and Republican Party of India(A) announcing their backing to the march.
11: 30 AM IST | Mumbai: MarathaKrantiMorcha rally by Maratha community to demand for reservation begins