HIGHLIGHTS Maratha Kranti Morcha: Lakhs gather at Azad Maidan, CM orders sops, Mumbaiites not hit

Pics: Rons Bantwal
Kemmannu News Network, 09-08-2017 17:21:21

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HIGHLIGHTS Maratha Kranti Morcha: Lakhs gather at Azad Maidan, CM orders sops, Mumbaiites not hit

While schools were shut and 10,000 policemen were deployed, protest did not affect commuters much

This is likely to be the last rally for the Maratha community, which has been demanding reservation in government jobs and education. It is their third attempt to hold a march in Mumbai after the first two failed following internal differences. At the end of the rally, CM Devendra Fadnavis promised Marathas concession in fees to 605 educational courses, interest-free loans up to Rs10 lakh for self-employment, Rs5 crore to each district for the construction of hostels and setting up of a district-wise committee to decide on cases filed under the Atrocities Act.

Here’s a look at all that happened at this massive demonstration, one of the biggest Mumbai has seen in decades:

6.35pm: Protesters travelling to Thane will follow the same route up to Bhakti Park, then to Shivaji Nagar and continue further on the Ghatkopar Mankhurd Link Road.

6.33pm: Traffic on Eastern Freeway won’t be hit as protesters will not take the entire route, said traffic police. Protesters will take the route below the freeway via Wadala — towards Bhakti Park and onto the Freeway towards Trombay. This is the route for morcha vehicles leaving for Navi Mumbai and Pune

6.20pm: CR services slowly getting back on track after disruption earlier. Railway officials monitoring train movement

6.15pm: Around 2,500 traffic police personnel have been deployed on roads leading into the city to ensure smooth flow of traffic during the evening peak hour.

5.57pm: Train services run slow; few trains at CST currently

5.51pm: Train services resume at Kurla

5.48pm: Brace for traffic jams around the Port Trust area. The Mumbai police said around 5,000 vehicles from Thane and Navi Mumbai parked inside BPT will start making their way out

5.46pm: CR services affected after a point failure near Kurla

5.37pm: Traffic flow on western and eastern express highway smooth

5.11pm: Protesters gather at CST to head back home
4.57 pm: BJP MP Sambhaji Raje and Nitesh Rane speak to crowds gathered at Azad Maidan, assuring them that the government’s promises will be fulfilled.

4.54 pm: The Maharashtra government promises Marathas concession in fees to 605 educational courses, interest-free loans up to Rs10 lakh for self-employment, Rs5 crore to each district for the construction of hostels and the setting up of a district-wise committee to decide on cases filed under the Atrocities Act.

4.49 pm: The congestion outside CST eases, but the platforms are still packed with protesters.
4.26 pm: While announcing sops for Maratha students, CM Fadnavis says he is “positive” about reservation.

4.23 pm: The central railways will run a special train heading towards Solapur via Manmad and Daund for the convenience of protesters. It will depart from CST at 8.40pm.  Another train heading to Kolhapur via Pune will depart at 12.30am.

4.08 pm: Here’s a 360° view of the protests at Azad Maidan.
4.07 pm: Two extra trains will run on the central line during non-peak hours.

4.05 pm: Expect one train every four minutes on the harbour line.

4.01 pm: Eight extra services will run on the harbour line and 16 on the main line, say railway officials.

3.59 pm: Rumours of CM Fadnavis visiting Azad Maidan are debunked.

3.57 pm: As many as 23 extra workers have been deployed to clean CST of trash following the protest.

3.24 pm: Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis will arrive at Azad Maidan, say organisers.

2.59 pm: As railway stations are packed, four extra local train services are being operated between CST and Panvel, and between Thane and Kalyan.

2.45 pm: The Maharashtra government likely to announce a package for Maratha students, which will include a reduction in the percentage needed to secure admission to professional courses and freeships. The government has also decided to constitute a cabinet sub-committee to expedite the reservation procedure. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is expected to make an announcement soon.

2.43 pm: Huge crowds at CST, trains get packed quickly.

2.35 pm: A second delegation led by BJP MP Sambhaji Take reaches Vidhan Bhavan.

2.32 pm: A Maratha delegation led by women reaches Vidhan Bhavan accompanied by cooperation minister Subhash Deshmukh, Narayan Range and Vinayak Mete. Two more to arrive, meet government officials.

2.11 pm: As many as 20 railway police officers are keeping an eye on protests at CST. About 20 are deployed at Byculla.

1.46 pm: Azad Maidan is filling up fast.

1.18 pm: Ambedkar Road is opened for north-bound traffic from Byculla.

1.02 pm: A team of 3,500 volunteers start cleaning up the trash left behind.

12.55 pm: Former Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan joins the rally.

12.50 pm: Groups distribute biscuits and water to tired protesters.

12.37 pm: CST is engulfed in a sea of saffron as protesters make their way to the iconic terminus.

12.28 pm: Crowds keep moving towards Azad Maidan.

12.24 pm: Reports that a few protesters tore Shiv Sena flags in Byculla around 10 am begin to surface.

12.19 pm: Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil says the government does not want to give Marathas reservation. “It does not even want us to raise the issue inside the house,” he said.

12.00 pm: No major injuries reported so far, say civic doctors. However, 32 people have been treated for dizziness so far.

11.55 am: In one serpentine queue, the march reaches halfway across JJ Flyover.

11.52 am: Police estimate that there were at least 1.5 lakh participants at the starting point.

11.43 am: The crowd marches on JJ Flyover, heading towards Azad Maidan.

11.30 am: Shiv Sena joins Opposition, demands reservation for Marathas.

11.29 am: Crowds along Reay Road ease, while Ambedkar Road is still congested.

11.26 am: Legislators shout slogans in the Maharashtra Assembly, demand reservation for Marathas.

11.25 am: Organisers request participants not to indulge in sloganeering.

11.24 am: Ambedkar Road is shut for traffic as protesters march along its north-bound corridor.

11.20 am: The APMC market in Navi Mumbai is shut on account of the morcha.

11.19 am: Protesters at Reay Road begin marching while those at Ambedkar Road stay put. After a few minutes, police allow Ambedkar Road participants to move, while those at Reay Road come to a halt.

11.18 am: NCP leader Ajit Pawar demands justice for the Kopardi rape and murder victim, says it has been a year since the crime took place. He adds that he supports the Marathas’ demand for reservation.

11.14 am: Children and women take their place at the head of the march.

11.12 am: Traffic police cordon off all roads leading to Azad Maidan.

11.04 am: Organisers said they haven’t barred any political leader from entering Azad Maidan, attribute the Ashish Shelar incident to “confusion”.

11.00 am: Marathas assemble at Byculla, the starting point of the march.

10.53 am: BJP chief Ashish Shelar is prevented from entering Azad Maidan, where the rally will end, according to TV reports

10.47 am: “There is congestion on Eastern Freeway, however, traffic on the Western Express Way and Western Express Way is flowing smoothly,” said Amitesh Kumar, joint commissioner of police, traffic.

10.39 am: Leaders from almost all political parties are expected to join the march. Former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan will join the protest at Haj House at 12 pm.

10.26 am: Expect the supply of goods to be delayed in Mumbai as the movement of trucks will be hit owing to traffic snarls on the morcha route.

10.20 am: Taxi union leader A L Quadros requests kaali-peeli taxi drivers to ferry people in the island city and its suburbs

10.12 am: Organisers say children will lead morcha, followed by women and then men

10.09 am: As many as 50 children of farmers who committed suicide arrive in Mumbai from Trimbakeshwar in Nashik

10.08 am: Several protesters opt to travel by local trains to beat traffic jams and reach Byculla quickly

10.07 am: About 108 ambulances have been deployed at the morcha’s starting point

10.04 am: As many as 21 civic doctors arrive at Rani Baug to provide aid to protesters in case of emergencies

10.03 am: Massive crowds throng Rani Baug Road, commuters face a tough time

10.02 am: Cops halt the entry of south-bound traffic in Lalbaug

9.52 am: Hundreds from the Maratha community assemble at the APMC market in Navi Mumbai and at the Sanpada railway station.

9.50 am: Vehicles heading towards Kings Circle are being diverted to RA Kidwai Marg after police block the arterial Ambedkar Road .

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