Maharashtra stir: Why anti-Dalit stance taken by Marathas defies any logic
Rakshit Sonawane Sep 21, 2016 17:01 IST
Mumbai: After the unrest of the Patidar community in Gujarat for reservation, neighbouring Maharashtra is on the boil as the Marathas have hit the streets for a similar demand. While the Patidar stir led to the sacking of Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel, the series of agitations by Marathas in Maharashtra has become a cause for concern for the BJP leadership.
What's worrying the state government more as the Marathas have, in addition, asked for various other things, including scrapping of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act (PAA) 1989 to rein in Dalits.
The rape and murder of a teenage Maratha girl at Kopardi village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra has polarised the Maratha community. What started as a local outrage to demand death penalty for the Dalit accused after the incident in July was nurtured into a show of strength almost a month later in Aurangabad on 9 August, triggering a series of silent processions in various districts. The demands include scrapping of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act (PAA) 1989 and reservation for Marathas in education and employment.
New demands are being added as the response for the stir grows, like asking the state to take back the Maharashtra Bhushan award conferred on a Brahmin bard Babasaheb Purandare for allegedly insulting Jijamata, mother of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The indignation has come at a time when the 16 percent quota granted by the state is in litigation and the powerful Maratha leaders are in political wilderness with a Brahmin Devendra Fadnavis becoming the Chief Minister after the BJP swept the polls in 2014.
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