Taking their agitation to the state capital, the Maratha community held a “warm up” bike rally protest in the city to press for their various demands, ahead of their December morcha planned in Nagpur during the winter session of the state Legislature.
Rajan Ghag, one of the event organisers, claimed that over 50,000 bikes participated in the rally, which commenced from K J Somaiya ground in Sion at 10 am and culminated near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station after passing through Matunga, Dadar, Parel, Lalbaug and Byculla areas.
“More than 50,000 bikes participated in our rally which would have made it amply clear to the government that the community is in no mood to rest till all their demands are met by the government,” Ghag said.
He said this was a “warm up” rally to convey to the government that it would have to face the biggest show of strength when the winter session of the state Legislature will be held next month in Nagpur.
“There will be a maha morcha held in Mumbai if the government fails to agree to our demands in the Legislature session where people from the farthest of zillas will participate,” he said.
“In today’s Janjagruti rally, we had formulated a code of conduct for each participant, who had to follow them very strictly. Among the rules set were that every rider wears a helmet and the pillion rider had to wear a turban. Also, all were instructed to strictly refrain from honking and not to jump signals,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Police spokesperson DCP Ashok Dudhe said the rally was held peacefully and that all rules and regulations were followed.
The Maratha community, which is a dominant force in Maharashtra politics, has been taking out silent marches in various towns of the state since last few months, following the rape and murder of a girl at Kopardi in Ahmednagar district in July.
The community leaders have been pressing for scrapping of the SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, saying it is grossly misused, and have also raised other demands like quota in education and jobs.