30 April 2017 | Last updated 10:54 PM

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Silent march sends across clear and strong message
Abhay Khairnar | Monday, 26 September 2016 AT 12:35 AM IST
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Pune: Pune Maratha Kranti Morcha broke all the records on Sunday with more than 20 lakh people  participating in the silent march which started from Deccan Gymkhana and ended at Council Hall in Pune Camp on Sunday. Despite the huge turnout, the march was organised in a disciplined manner and all the participants walked peacefully. Some police officers estimated that 20 to 25 lakh people were on the streets.   

The morcha was organised for various demands including death sentence to the criminals who raped and murdered a minor  girl in Kopardi in Ahmednagar district, amending the Atrocities Act, reservation for the  Maratha community and solving agriculture crisis.

Many senior citizens, leaders and police officials said this was the largest morcha in the history of Pune after the Samyukta Maharashtra rallies held in the 1950s. Many people coming from various parts of the district were not able to participate in the morcha as most of the roads were blocked due to huge crowds.

Though the morcha was scheduled to start at 10.30 am, people started arriving at the venue from 7 am.  The whole area in Deccan Gymkhana was packed at 9.30 am but as many participants were coming from rural areas, the organisers waited till the scheduled time.

The morcha started exactly at 10.30 am after the garlanding of a statue of Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj. The main corridor of the morcha route was kept vacant as women and college-going girls were to march first.

All the roads coming towards Deccan Gymkhana were banned for vehicular  movement. People were parking their vehicles wherever they got a chance and started walking towards Deccan Gymkhana. The main corridor from Sambhaji Maharaj  Statue to Alka Talkies was reserved for women participants.

The police and volunteers appealed to people to walk through parallel roads. Many people coming from Ahmednagar Road, Solapur Road, Satara Road and Hadapsar preferred to come directly to the Council Hall.

A large number of volunteers were deployed on roads to guide the people. The number of women volunteers was also high. Instead of the police, these volunteers did the traffic management. The police were seen in a relaxed mood as the morcha was moving ahead peacefully and organisers themselves instructed the people to follow the police instructions.

Politicos participate in morcha
Many political leaders from Maratha community participated in the Maratha Kranti Morcha including Minister of State for Irrigation Vijay Shivtare, MPs Anil Shirole, Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil, Srirang Barne, former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, former ministers Harshwardhan Patil, Dilip Walse Patil, Shashikant Sutar,  Mayor Prashant Jagtap and almost all MLAs from the city and the district.

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