Marathas may go for Gujjar-type agitation for job quota

August 18th, 2008 - 11:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Aug 18 (IANS) Several Maratha organisations plan to come under one umbrella in Pune Tuesday to jointly fight for their demands and chalk out plans to launch a Gujjar-type agitation in Maharashtra, according to an activist.”There are more than a dozen big Maratha organisations at the state and national level, representing the cause of the total 40 million Marathas in the state. For the first time, they will unite and work for a common cause,” Vinayak Mete, founder of the Mumbai-based Shivsangram Sanghatana, told IANS here Monday evening.

He said the Pune meeting would discuss the critical times and the burning issues confronting the warrior clan, which once ruled the state, but has now been pushed to backwardness.

“Even in modern times, we have had seven chief ministers - the late Vasantdada Patil, B.A. Bhosale, Y.B. Chavan, S.B. Chavan - and later, Sharad Pawar, Narayan Rane, and Vilasrao Deshmukh - but none bothered to improve the lot of their own community members,” Mete said.

He listed out employment, lack of sufficient education opportunities and housing as the main issues. Even the plight of the farming community is bad and nearly 75 percent of the farmland suicides involved Marathas, he said.

“Even in Mumbai, Marathas eke out a miserable existence on pavements and slums, doing odd jobs for sheer survival. But the Maratha leaders are not concerned. Now, we have decided to do something and seek justice for the community,” Mete asserted.

He added that the groups would resort to all democratic measures to convince the state government to consider the plight of Marathas. After all, he said, this was once the dominant ruling community of Maharashtra, but owing to divisions and internal bickerings of its leaders, has fallen behind.

“If the democratic measures fail to convince the government, then we have the option to agitate. The success of the recent Gujjar agitation in north India is before us to serve as an example and a means to achieve our targets,” he pointed out, hinting that Marathas may resort to a similar course of action.

However, Mete declined to specify a time-frame by which the agitation would start.

The prominent groups taking part in Tuesday’s meeting in Pune include the Shivsangram Sanghatana, Akhil Bharatiya Maratha Mahasangha, Maratha Seva Sangh, Sambhaji Brigade, Chhava, Kranti Sena and Akhil Bharatiya Chhava Sanghatana, he said.

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