Other States

After Marathas, Dhangar community seeks fulfilment of reservation demands

A file photo of Marathas taking out a silent march demanding reservation in jobs and educational institutions.  

Even as the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government filed a review petition in the Supreme Court to vacate the stay on the Maratha quota law, the Dhangar community staged a demonstration in Parbhani district in the Marathwada region seeking fulfilment of their long-pending demand to be included in the Scheduled Tribes (ST) category.

“While the community has staged rallies from time to time, the State government has not taken any concrete stance on including us in the ST category. Despite presenting Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray with a list of our 10 most important demands, no action has been forthcoming thus far,” alleged BJP MLC Gopichand Padalkar, an influential Dhangar leader.

He said the community’s youth were seething with discontent and warned of intensifying the agitation if the MVA government failed to respond quickly to the Dhangar community’s long-pending demands.

Another noted leader Prakash Shendge, who heads the Maharashtra State Dhangar Welfare Association, said all political parties have used the community as a football to suit their votebank purposes.

The community, currently included in the Vimukta Jati and the Nomadic Tribes (VJNT) category, is agitating for a higher quota inclusion in the ST list.

Dhangar leaders contend that while their communtiy brethren called ‘Dhangad’ in other parts of the country are availing themselves of the ST benefits, those in the State are denied of the same owing to a long-standing typographical error on the name.

Also read: SC refuses to stay Bombay HC order on reservation to Marathas

A shutdown was observed in Solapur district on Monday as activists of the “Sakal Maratha Samaj” — an umbrella outfit of Maratha groups — staged protests across the district.

Tyres were burnt and traffic was blocked along the Pune-Pandharpur route and the Madha area, while the district administration suspended bus services as a precautionary measure.

Maratha activists staged sit-ins outside the houses of Congress MLA Praniti Shinde and BJP legislator and former Minister Subhash Deshmukh among other elected representatives.

“As always, I stand firmly behind the Maratha community and so does the Congress party. The MVA government will pull out all stops in ensuring that the community’s interests are strongly represented in the Supreme Court,” said Ms. Shinde, a three-time MLA from the Solapur City Central constituency.

Mr. Deshmukh, to pacify the restive crowd clamouring for his resignation, said he was even willing to step down as an MLA if the Maratha community members thought he had failed to adequately address their issues.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2020 4:25:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/after-marathas-dhangar-community-seeks-fulfilment-of-reservation-demands/article32663256.ece

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