Mumbai, Jan 30: Chakka Jam (road blockade) has been called by several Maratha groups on Tuesday to protest against the state government over non-implementation of their demands. The statewide protests have been planned tomorrow (January 31) to demand immediate justice in the Kopardi rape-murder case.
The call for protests has been made by Sakal Maratha Samaj, the umbrella organization, representing nearly 40 smaller pro-Maratha outfits. Their list of demand includes amendment in the Prevention of Atrocities Act to prevent its misuse, reservation for Maratha youths in educational institutions, along with several initiatives directed to economically uplift the community.
According to TOI, the chakka jam would be implemented between 10 AM in the morning to 2 PM in the afternoon. The blockade would severely hit the road traffic, bringing the national highways to a standstill. As per reports, the blockades have been prepared by Maratha activists in full force in Kolhapur, Nanded, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Ahmednagar and Mumbai among the major places. READ: Transport Strike in Maharashtra on 31st January?
“In Mumbai, we will block all the main roads in two phases. In some parts, the agitation will be held between 9am and 11am while in others, it will be carried out between 10am and noon,” Santosh Gavhane Patil, one of the organisers, told TOI.
In Kolhapur, all entry points to the city would remain blocked for at least an hour in the morning. The chakka jam would gradually be relaxed as noon approaches.
In Aurangabad, the road blockade has been planned at 40 spots in the city. Meanwhile, the Maratha activists have prepared to block 250 points in Nanded district, including the national highway. The protest is expected to cause massive inconvenience and traffic jam on a mammoth scale.
The demands set forth by Maratha organisations before the state government is diverse in nature. While Kopardi rape-murder case is the triggering point of their protest, the community is also aggrieved by their deteriorating economic condition.
Although their immediate demands include execution of all the guilty in Kopardi rape-murder case (all accused are Dalits, victim is Maratha), they have also sought reservation for the community. The Marathas have also demanded amendments in Atrocities Act, alleging that it is being misused to harass them. The implementation of Swaminathan Committee’s report, which would upscale minimum support price by 150 per cent for farmers, is another major demand raised by the activists.
The Maratha agitation began on August 9, in response to the gangrape of minor Maratha girl in Kopardi. The agitation for justice snowballed into a major community-based protest, seeking constitutional reservation. The protesters have planned several agitations till March 6. Issuing a warning to the government, the protesters have said, “The rally on March 6 in Mumbai would be the last peaceful rally.”