Mumbai, August 9: The Maratha Kranti Morcha on Wednesday carried out a massive protest in Mumbai. People of the Maratha community from across Maharashtra participated in the protest rally. (Here are live updates from the Maratha Kranti Morcha) The aim of the silent protests was reservation for Marathas in state-run educational institutions and government jobs, minimum support price for farm produce, and amendments to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. However, the case that triggered the morcha a year ago was the Kopardi rape-murder incident. In Kopardi, Ahmednagar, on July 13, 2016, a 15-year-old Maratha girl was brutally raped and murdered allegedly by three Dalit youths.

The victim’s genitals were damaged badly, her hair was pulled out, hands were dislocated from the shoulders, and she was strangled to death after the rape. The accused are identified as Jitendra Shinde, Santosh G Bhaval and Nitin G Bhailume.

Following the incident, the Maratha community took to the streets to protests last year across various districts of Maharashtra such as Akola, Nanded, Beed, Osmanabad, Aurangabad, Jalgaon and Jalna districts. These protests were carried out for over a month. Till now, the Maratha Kranti Morcha has conducted more than 50 silent protests in the state.

A 350-page chargesheet was filed by police in the court. The silent protests in Maharashtra in the past one year forced the government to appoint Ujjwal Nikam as a special public prosecutor and fast-track the case. According to the prosecution, the Kopardi rape-murder case is currently at its last stage with cross examination being done by the defence.

The protests by Maratha community have been demanding justice and punishment for culprits. However, the protests now also aim to put forward the reservation demands for Maratha Community. With reservation as its main demand, the Maratha Kranti Morcha is carrying out a massive protest in Mumbai from 11 am from Byculla’s Jijamata Udyan to 5 pm at the Azad Maidan. To ensure safe and peaceful protest, more than 7,000 Mumbai police have been deployed on duty. The police issued a traffic advisory to the people as many roads will be blocked today.