1 to 17 lakh people, according to various estimates, from the Dalit, Adivasi, OBC, and Muslim communities participated in a silent protest demonstration in Pune on November 27, a day after the Constitution Day.

According to Rahul Dambale, founder of the Republican Yuva Morcha, an organiser of the demonstration, over 60 percent of the participants were women. He told YKA that the demonstration was a response to the communal and casteist feelings that are taking root in Maharashtra due to the Maratha protests that started in August. “And because of that an inequality is being created among us. To end that and to end the identity pride that is developing and to say that we should move in the direction of the constitution, towards the country, we held this demonstration,” he told YKA. The demonstration also demanded strict action against the guilty in the rape and murder case that started the Maratha protests.

The Maratha silent protests had started after the rape and murder of a minor from the community in Kopardi village of Ahmednagar district in the state in July, where three of theaccused are Dalits. The protests have since taken a political turn. Although there appear to be no leaders, the protests are reported to be supported by leaders in the Congress, NCP, and even the BJP. The demands include reservation for the Maratha community and a review of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.Dambale explained that the silent march was not against any particular caste-group and that those “secular among the upper-castes” also took part in the demonstration. “In the city, considered the land of Phule and Ambedkar, for the first time, people who follow their views protested in such huge numbers,” he told YKA.

Over 100 different organisations rallied under the banner of ‘Samvidhan Sanman Mook Morcha’ according to the organisers. The Prakash Ambedkar led Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, however, didn’t participate in the demonstration, Pravin Jadhao, a media representative of the Maharashtra-based party, told YKA. A memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister, Maharashtra, listing 34 demands was submitted to the District Collector, Pune, at the end of the rally.The list of demands of the Morcha submitted to the Collector included demands for establishment of special courts in each district for trying Atrocities Act cases, 5 percent reservation for the Muslim community, implementation of Sachar Committee and Ranganath Mishra Commission recommendations, stopping the inhuman practice of manual scavenging and strict implementation of the 2013 Act mandating rehabilitation of manual scavengers, release of the caste-census data, enactment of a Rohith Act to end discrimination in educational institutions, strict implementation of the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, arrests of self-proclaimed cow-protection groups, repeal of the anti-farmer law prohibiting cow-slaughter, ending contract-based hiring of workers, etc.

1. Under the atrocity law, establish Special Courts in all districts.2. 5% reservation must be granted to the Muslim community.

3. Strict action to be taken against bogus Adivasi and OBC caste certificate creation.

4. Put out a white paper quoting the status of the enforcement of the atrocity law.

5. Make special provisions for the nomadic underprivileged tribes in the budgets.

6. Take strict action against those who commit atrocity against the Adivasi women students in aashram schools of Buldhana district.

7. Enforce the suggestions put forward by Sachar Commmittee and Ranganath Mishra Commission.

8. Stop the inhuman act of manual scavenging and strictly enforce the Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act 2013.

9. Loosen the conditions for ‘non-creamy layer’ for women across all groups.

10. Strictly punish the guilty persons for mistreating and murdering the non-guilty and innocent girl from Kopardi.

11. Central and State government should make laws for strict enforcement and protection of Dalit and Adivasi budget provisions.

12. Accept the Rohit Vemula Law which prevents the caste-based discrimination in educational institutions.

13. Enforce PESA law for the Adivasi. Prevent the handover of Adivasi water, forest, and land.

14. The condition of current Backward and Adivasi households should be determined like Navodaya schools.

15. Put out a white paper regarding all Adivasi schools in the state.

16. Fill out the vacancies for the Backward people in government and semi-government jobs as soon as possible.

17. Appoint special courts and a special panel of lawyers for all the cases of mistreatment of women in all districts.

18. To facilitate the creation of caste documents for Scheduled Tribes, repeal the condition for document proof from before 1950.

19. Make public the caste-census.

20. Immediately accept the scholarships for students hailing from Dalit, Adivasi, underprivileged and backwards, and minority background; if cannot be enforced immediately, investigations about the delay to be carried out under the provisions mentioned in the Right to Service Act.

21. Give the pasture-land pattas from before 2006 to the cattle owners. Give land to landless.

22. Repeal the law prohibiting cow slaughter which is against the farmers’ benefits.

23. Ban the self-proclaimed cow protectors.

24. Cleaners and sweepers should be given houses by the government which are registered in their own names.

25. Stop the contract based hiring of workers.

26. Give quality and free education from KG to PG.

27. Domestic workers and other non-unionized workers must get a minimum wage.

28. Waive farmer debts to stop farmer suicide.

29. Increase the prices of farm produce.

30. DW land must be given for the expansion of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Cultural Bhawan in Pune.

31. Build a memorial for Bhide Wada.

32. Start the construction of memorial of Lahuji Salve.

33. Start immediate construction of Shivaji memorial in Arabian Sea.

34. Start immediate construction of Ambedkar memorial in place of Indu Mill.