5 lakh expected to turn up for Maratha morcha in Navi Mumbai today, traffic diverted

5 lakh expected to turn up for Maratha morcha in Navi Mumbai today, traffic diverted
Picture Courtesy: Shailaja S. Jogal

Ahead of its Mumbai morcha, the Maratha community started its silent march in Navi Mumbai at 10 am on Wednesday.

The protesters will be conducting a massive rally in Mumbai in the coming days and the protest in Navi Mumbai is being touted as a ‘rehearsal’ for the same. It is estimated that at least 25 lakh Marathas from across the state will gather in the maximum city during the Mumbai rally.

According to the organizers, today’s rally in Navi Mumbai is expected to be attended by around 5 lakh people. However, an assessment by the special branch of the Navi Mumbai police pegged the number as 1 lakh.

The organizers have also decided to shut the APMC market to ensure a higher turnout. A majority of traders and mathadi workers from APMC belong to the Maratha community.

The 6 km rally will start from Utsav Chowk in Kharghar and culminate at CBD chowk.

Owing to the rally, traffic between Utsav Chowk in Kharghar and Konkan Bhawan in Belapur has been diverted to ensure that the Mumbai-Pune route remains unaffected.

4,000 police personnel will be deployed on the route to maintain law and order situation.

Why the protest?

The protesting are demanding strict action against the culprits of the Kopardi rape and murder case, which shook the nation.

Before Navi Mumbai, the Maratha community has been holding rallies across the state to demand reservation in education and employment, waiving off farmers’ loans and scrapping of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The list of demands will be handed over to the collector.

Similar ‘silent’ rallies have been held in over ten districts of Maharashtra in the last one month alone. Many of which, like the one’s conducted in Beed, Osmanabad, Auranganad, Jalna and Latur, witnessed a mammoth turnout.

According to one of the organizers, unlike other protests, the march does not entail shouting slogans or speeches. The community protests silently and avoids littering or causing any damage to civic property. It is all very civilized.

The organizers also maintain that their protests have been largely ignored by conventional media, because of which they are now eyeing social media to spread the message and reach out to more people. They are urging protesters to open new accounts and share the messages by tagging both Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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