ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Behind the Ire of the Marathas

Maharashtra has seen strange developments over the last two months. Marathas, the most populous community, considered to be dominant in the state in every sphere, have come out on the streets in unprecedented numbers and with unusual calm to present their grievances. There is no face yet to these massive demonstrations carried out under the banner of the Maratha Kranti Morcha, which is repeating these demonstrations on increasingly grand scales at many places. Unknown youngsters, some in their teens—surprisingly girls in appreciably large numbers—are pushed forward as the spokespersons of the agitation. While the Marathas march without any slogan and disburse without any speeches being made, the placards and saffron flags they carry have no less of a menacing message. They reiterate their demand for reservations, similar to communities in other states, notably the Gujjars in Rajasthan, Jats in Uttar Pradesh, and Patels in Gujarat. But their other demand for the repeal of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (PoA) smacks of something suspicious. Given the rout of many of the Maratha leaders in the last election, and with some of them facing charges of corruption, howsoever spontaneous these massive rallies may appear, the needle of suspicion points towards the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) being behind them.

A Spark and the Blaze

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