After 57 silent morchas across the state, the Maratha community is scheduled to hold its biggest ‘Maratha Kranti Morcha’ in Mumbai on Wednesday (August 9) between 9 am to 5 pm to press for their demands.
The silent rally comes a year after the first one was held in Aurangabad and is expected to draw lakhs of Marathas from all corners of the state.
The community will hold the rally to demand reservation for Marathas in government jobs and educational institutions, along with punishment for the culprits in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl in Kopardi.
Their other demands include Amendment in SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act) to stop its misuse, loan waiver to curb farmer suicides, and guaranteed rate for agricultural produce.
The rally, organised by an umbrella organisation of several Maratha groups, will start from Jijamata Udyan in Byculla at 11 am and culminate at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai at 5 pm.
Although adequate arrangements have been made, Mumbaikars can expect delays while commuting in and around South Mumbai as both road and railway network are expected to get burdened from morning till evening tomorrow.
Since a large number of participants, over 5 lakh according to some reports, are expected to participate in the morcha, Mumbai Traffic police have made elaborate arrangements to ensure citizens face minimal congestion and traffic.
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The administration has also made adequate arrangements for emergency vehicles like ambulances, fire engines and police vehicles.
Further, to keep motorists apprised about the traffic situation, realtime updates about the rally’s status and traffic movement will be shared on platforms like Twitter and FM radio.
According to DCP Rashmi Karandikar, PRO Mumbai Police, over 7,000 police personnel will actively monitor tomorrow’s rally. They will include personnel from local units and state reserve police.
The traffic police will use the city’s interconnected CCTV network, deploy drones, traffic diversions and technical surveillance to ensure the protests don’t lead to a law and order problem in the city.
Cops will additionally monitor social media platforms, including WhatsApp groups, to ensure the rallies don’t take a violent turn. They will also keep a tab on protester sentiment and anti-social elements.
Although schools and colleges in South Mumbai have been notified about the protest, the decision of declaring Wednesday as a working or non-working day has been left at their discretion.
Since Marathas from Ahmednagar, Nashik, Kolhapur, Raigad etc are expected to reach Mumbai via trains, railway police has also been asked to step up security and vigilance at railway stations.
The Railways will also make timely announcements about where the protestors can alight to ensure they do not crowd near other stations.
Protest will be silent and civil, assure organisers:
Although cops have urged citizens to avoid travelling to South Mumbai tomorrow, the organizers of the morcha have promised that Mumbaikars will not be inconvenienced during the rally.
To ensure roads are not clogged, they have asked participants from Mumbai to avoid taking four-wheelers to reach the starting point.
Those arriving from outside the city – from Ahmednagar, Nashik, Kolhapur, Raigad, Satara, Pune, Navi Mumbai, Thane etc – have also been asked to either park their vehicles in designated areas or opt for trains.
Meanwhile, parking arrangements have been made at BPT near Wadala, APMC premises and large grounds in Navi Mumbai.
At least 10,000 volunteers, equipped with walkie talkies, will also lend a hand and coordinate with the traffic police throughout the rally.
Virendra Pawar, coordinator of the Maratha Kranti Morcha, also assured that Mumbaikars will not be inconvenienced.
“We don’t want to trouble citizens. We haven’t created a problem during any of the 57 marches held across the state. There will be no law and order situation this time either. We will be disciplined and ensure cleanliness,” he said during a media interaction.
Nanasaheb Patil, a member of the organising committee, was also quoted saying, “The code of conduct for the rally will be the same as it was in the past. There will be no slogan-shouting and everyone will march silently and peacefully.”