Cyber Journal 24, September 25, 2016
Like most of the non-Marathas, even I was not sure about the intention behind organizing such silent marches. Initially, I thought it’s one of the opposition parties’ tricks to create a political stir as Hardik Patel had shown his support for these rallies. I even posted my displeasure about the issue on Facebook.
But, one of my friends shared details about these silent marches. Reservation is not the one and only demand from the community. In fact, it’s one out of six.
Several such rallies were conducted in various cities here in Maharashtra this month
I have to agree that I decided to attend the rally because I wish and pray that Kopardi rape and murder victim girl’s family gets justice ASAP. Plus, I also support the point that Prevention of Atrocities Act needs changes, as it’s easily misused to file fake cases.
I interacted with girls and women to know why they decided to hit the road. Many of them said they attended this rally for Kopardi rape victim and they want the Govt to give equal rights and reservations to people in the open category. This will make sure that every Indian citizen gets equal opportunities for education, jobs, loans, etc. A small number of them were specific that they want reservations for Marathas.
I had the opportunity to interact with a participant who is a victim of fake sc/st atrocity case. He explained how his business rival used this act to settle the score. Today, I learned that police officials need to be very careful while filing such cases and investigating the same.
As far as reservation is concerned, my opinion is that reservation should be given on financial ground. There are many Marathas as well as Brahmins are below poverty line and they also need Govt’s help in getting jobs, education, food, shelter at affordable rates.
All the traffic rules were followed
We started from Shivaji Putala in Kothrud and decided to park our bikes at Nal Stop. Instructions were clear. Don’t break any traffic rules, don’t click selfies, and don’t raise any slogans.
After reaching Deccan, the crowd was asked to stand in silence for two minutes to honor our brave army men who lost their life in Uri terror attack. Then, girls and women were asked to lead the morcha from Deccan to Council hall in order to submit a list of demands to Pune District Collector-Saurabh Rao.
People from all age groups were part of this perfectly organized march in Pune.
I am a journalist and have attended several political, non-political rallies during the last ten years. So, I can say that I have a good experience when it comes to rallies.
As pointed out by several police officials, even I would like to stress on the point that this was perhaps, the most disciplined protest march that my city Pune has ever witnessed.
Pune was saffronized
I am from one of those Puneites who often criticize the city for its pathetic infrastructure and traffic management. But, the way traffic department managed traffic and the rally is something that is worth appreciating. Pune turned saffron for few hours today. It was great to see people out in large numbers to use their democratic right to protest. After looking at all the saffron flags, I felt proud of my city after several years.
The NCP-controlled PMC failed to organize simple water tanks. But thanks to organizers, we did manage to get water bottles that were distributed free at certain spots.
Name does make it sound casteist
Yes, the name does make it sound casteist. No one wants to divide Hindus. But perhaps, this was the only way to get people out of their houses to seek justice and equal rights.
There is a misconception that rallies are organized for reservation and they are against all other castes. That’s definitely not the case. My personal opinion is that it was not just about reservations; there are people from the Maratha community who were demanding complete withdrawal of reservations in the state.
The point that I wish to highlight here is that people from various castes, not just Marathas, came out to show their support. Even Muslims participated in the rally.
The common sentiment is that organizations like RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal, and Hindu Mahasabha could have at least showed their support to protesters’ demands other than reservation. I won’t look at the rallies from a political angle because people are already aware that Congress and the Maratha dominant NCP offered nothing during their 15 years of rule of the state.
The ruling Shiv Sena and BJP have already shown their support to almost all the demands. But no action has been taken against culprits involved in Kopardi case. Police have failed to file charge sheet in the case even when two months have passed since the incident. Guilty police officials who tried to protect the culprits should be suspended immediately.
Everyone can join in
Even if you are not a Maratha, you should look at the list of demands. Join these rallies and show your support to the Kopardi rape and murder victim. Join these rallies for your sisters and for your friends. Show your support to them even if you are not a Maratha and they won’t hesitate to fight for your causes as well.
Politicians from all parties who participated in the march were not given much of limelight. The number of attendees’ is not yet clear, but police estimate the figure was more than ten lakh. There were no untoward incidents reported.
Please note: No one has paid me to write this column. This is not a press release or a promotional article.
Nitten is a consultant journalist, and has worked with renowned newspapers, news agency in India. If you are looking for desktop journalist, writer, you can email Nitten- email@example.com
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