Lakhs of people from across Maharashtra are expected to attend a protest march in Mumbai today, seeking reservations in jobs and education for the Maratha community.
This will be the 58th - and the largest - protest march of the Maratha community, exactly a year after the first march was held in Aurangabad, the organisers told reporters here.
So far, 57 protests, in the form of 'mook morcha' (silent rallies), have been held in various parts of the state following the brutal rape and murder of a 14-year-old Maratha girl in Kopardi in Ahmednagar district in July 2016.
Tomorrow, the morcha will begin at 11 am from the BMC's Jijamata Udyan and culminate at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai, the organisers said.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter have been used to spread the morcha message to community members, they said.
The JJ flyover will be closed for traffic today in view of the morcha, police said.
Schools in south Mumbai will remain closed today as a precautionary measure, an official said.
The silent protest is a peaceful way to press demand for reservation in jobs and educational institutions and punishment for culprits in the Kopardi case, the organisers said.
Their other demands include Amendment in SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act) to stop its misuse, loan waiver to curb farmer suicides, and remunerative prices for agricultural produce.
The morcha has been organised by the Sakal Maratha Samaj, an umbrella organisation of several Maratha groups.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to use the Bombay Gymkhana ground adjacent to the Azad Maidan, to handle the large number of people expected to participate in tomorrow's morcha, an official said.BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta and Commissioner of Police Datta Padsalgikar had met last week to discuss preparations and necessary arrangements from a security point of view, he said.