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10 August 2017, 12:52 | Kenneth Drake
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The trigger was a slew of announcements made by the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis after meeting the delegation of Maratha Kranti Morcha which had organised morcha today in the city to press among other things reservation in jobs and education.
The Maharashtra Chief Minister, however, announced land and grant of Rs 5 crore to build hostels for students from the Maratha community in every district state assembly. There are 605 streams in which OBCs now get concession, and this will be given to the Maratha community as well.
The protesters have been demanding reservation in jobs and educational institutions for members of the Maratha community, punishment for culprits in the Kopardi case and loan waivers for farmers. "In the last five months public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam has verified 31 witnesses but the victim's lawyers has started delaying tactics", Fadnavis added.
The Maratha community constitutes a third of state's population and a lot of them are engaged in farming.
Many parts of the city resembled a sea of Maratha community as several lakhs walked at a medium pace, sporting saffron turbans, carrying big and small saffron community flags.
He said the government would form a cabinet sub-committee, which would review the implementation of various schemes for the Maratha community. Maratha Kranti Morchas are being held since a year across Maharashtra but Mumbai's rally garnered much attention. Also seen in the protest were Maratha leaders from the Congress, like former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Bhai Jagtap. Other communities, including the Dhangars, are also in queue with similar demands, testing the political acumen of the Fadnavis government.
The education department has issued an order to over 500 schools in South Mumbai to remain shut on Wednesday to avoid further congestion.
Speaking in the House, later, Fadnavis said, "The government was in favour of reservation to Maratha community and will not leave any stone unturned to implement it". He said that they were disappointed with the government's response to their demand and will meet soon to decide the next course of action. They launched the movement a year ago to demand the death penalty for those arrested over the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl from the community, expanding demands as the movement grew.
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