Dalits, Adivasis, OBCs, Muslims March In Massive Protest In Pune (Over 60% Women)

Posted by Abhishek Jha in Society
November 28, 2016

1 to 17 lakh people, according to various estimates, from the Dalit, Adivasi, OBC, and Muslim communities participated in a silent protest demonstration in Pune on November 27, a day after the Constitution Day.

According to Rahul Dambale, founder of the Republican Yuva Morcha, an organiser of the demonstration, over 60 percent of the participants were women. He told YKA that the demonstration was a response to the communal and casteist feelings that are taking root in Maharashtra due to the Maratha protests that started in August. “And because of that an inequality is being created among us. To end that and to end the identity pride that is developing and to say that we should move in the direction of the constitution, towards the country, we held this demonstration,” he told YKA. The demonstration also demanded strict action against the guilty in the rape and murder case that started the Maratha protests.

The Maratha silent protests had started after the rape and murder of a minor from the community in Kopardi village of Ahmednagar district in the state in July, where three of the accused are Dalits. The protests have since taken a political turn. Although there appear to be no leaders, the protests are reported to be supported by leaders in the Congress, NCP, and even the BJP. The demands include reservation for the Maratha community and a review of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Dambale explained that the silent march was not against any particular caste-group and that those “secular among the upper-castes” also took part in the demonstration. “In the city, considered the land of Phule and Ambedkar, for the first time, people who follow their views protested in such huge numbers,” he told YKA.

Over 100 different organisations rallied under the banner of ‘Samvidhan Sanman Mook Morcha’ according to the organisers. The Prakash Ambedkar led Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, however, didn’t participate in the demonstration, Pravin Jadhao, a media representative of the Maharashtra-based party, told YKA. A memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister, Maharashtra, listing 34 demands was submitted to the District Collector, Pune, at the end of the rally.

The list of demands of the Morcha submitted to the Collector included demands for establishment of special courts in each district for trying Atrocities Act cases, 5 percent reservation for the Muslim community, implementation of Sachar Committee and Ranganath Mishra Commission recommendations, stopping the inhuman practice of manual scavenging and strict implementation of the 2013 Act mandating rehabilitation of manual scavengers, release of the caste-census data, enactment of a Rohith Act to end discrimination in educational institutions, strict implementation of the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, arrests of self-proclaimed cow-protection groups, repeal of the anti-farmer law prohibiting cow-slaughter, ending contract-based hiring of workers, etc.

Click to read a translation of the list of demands in its entirety

Video credit: Youtube

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