Maratha Quota Stir: Jarange Reaches Mumbai Outskirts With Thousands Of Supporters

Jarange and other Maratha activists reached the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) on outskirts of Mumbai around 5 am by bikes, cars, jeeps, tempos and trucks.

Manoj Jarange reached Mumbai to push for reservations for the Maratha community.

Maratha quota leader Manoj Jarange Friday reached Navi Mumbai with thousands of supporters to push for reservation for the Maratha community.

Jarange and other Maratha activists reached the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) on outskirts of Mumbai around 5 am by bikes, cars, jeeps, tempos and trucks. As per his plan, Jarange, along with his supporters, will begin his hunger strike at Azad Maidan on Friday. The protesters are demanding Kunbi (OBC) status to the Maratha community.

Despite the Mumbai Police issuing a notice to him denying him permission to hold a hunger strike in the city, Jarange announced on Thursday that he will reach Azad Maidan in south Mumbai on January 26.

In a notice issued under section 149 of the Criminal Procedure Code that enables the police to prevent cognisable offences, the police said, “Mumbai is the financial capital of the country and various financial institutions, international advocacy and other financial centers are working in Mumbai.

“Approximately 60 to 65 lakh citizens travel by train and other means of transport for jobs in Mumbai every day. If the Maratha protestors reach the city in their vehicles, it will have an adverse effect and the everyday transport system in the city will collapse.” The Mumbai police suggested that the protestors could gather at International Corporation Park Ground at Kharghar in Navi Mumbai after seeking permission from the authority concerned. Police said that if the morcha did not adhere to the notice, they will be held in contempt of orders of the High Court and Supreme Court.

“As per the High Court, only 7,000 square metres area of Azad Maidan has been reserved for protest and its capacity is to accommodate 5,000 to 6,000 protestors, but if a large number of protestors come there, there will not be enough space for them to stop and there are no facilities to that extent. The rest of the ground comes under the school education and sports department which too has rejected permission to hold the rally,” the notice stated.

While refusing permission for the crowd to assemble at the Shivaji Park ground in Dadar, the police said that since January 26 is Republic Day, the government programme of flag hoisting will be held at Shivaji Park and there was a possibility it will be disturbed due to the agitation. The notice added that the Shivaji Park ground did not have the capacity to accommodate such a large number of visitors. The police mentioned that as per the Bombay High Court writ petition in the case, the Court directed the police to ensure the protest does not cause any disturbance to the public in Mumbai.

Jarange said the Maratha agitation will never disrupt any celebration planned on Republic Day and would instead celebrate the day. The organisers in Mumbai announced that a flag-hoisting ceremony to mark Republic Day will be held at Azad Maidan.

While Jarange remained firm on marching towards Mumbai despite the police notice, he said Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and deputy Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar should personally come forward for a discussion to solve the issue.

A delegation, led by senior government officials including divisional commissioner of Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, had met Jarange to convince him not to go to Mumbai. It was conveyed to him that another delegation will meet him with more government decisions.

Navi Mumbai police officials also met Jarange and requested him to change the route of his march as a hospital is in the route. Police requested the organisers to change their route and travel from the old Pune-Mumbai highway.