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Struggle for Reservation: Marathas Warn of ‘Last Silent Protest’ 

The 58th march of the Maratha community comes exactly a year after the first silent protest held in Aurangabad.

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Marathas take out massive march in Mumbai to press for quota. Thousands of people belonging to the Maratha community, from different parts of Maharashtra, converged here on Wednesday as part of their campaign to press for reservation in jobs and education among other demands.

Amid tight security, the massive silent march began from the Jijamata Udyan in Byculla on Wednesday morning with participants carrying saffron swallowtail flags.

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Maratha community people during a silent protest in Mumbai demand reservation in government jobs and educational institutions.      
(Photo: PTI)
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This is the 58th march of the Maratha community, exactly a year after the first such protest was held in Aurangabad. The march has been organised by the Sakal Maratha Samaj, an umbrella organisation of several Maratha groups.

These 'mook morcha' or silent rallies were held in various parts of the state, following the brutal rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl, belonging to the Maratha community, at Kopardi village in Ahmednagar district in July 2016.

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Rajya Sabha member Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje told reporters at Azad Maidan that he was participating in the march not as a Member of Parliament, but as an "ordinary member" of the Maratha community.

At Azad Maidan, a morcha participant – dressed like Chhatrapati Shivaji – was heard extolling the virtues of a "government of the people and for the people", as practised by the Maratha king.

Bollywood actor Riteish Deshmukh also voiced his support to the protest march with a late night tweet.

"Ek Maratha, Lakh Maratha," the actor tweeted in Marathi, referring to a popular slogan.

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Fadnavis later announced that a cabinet sub-committee would be set up to periodically review the issues raised by the Maratha Kranti Morcha and take necessary steps.

He announced hostels for Maratha students in every district, with an outlay of Rs 5 crore for each, scholarships in 605 academic courses, with reduction in minimum percentage marks for eligibility, reduction in fees to benefit one million students, and giving Rs 200 crore to the Annasaheb Patil Arthik Vikas Corporation, among others.

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"We will request the MSBCC to submit its report early to the court," Fadnavis told the legislature, after a delegation of MKM and political parties' leaders met him and submitted a memorandum of their demands.

Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam

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