ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Caste Conflict in Maharashtra

Chinchner-Vandan and the Prevention of Atrocities Act

The demand by Marathas to repeal the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, as voiced strongly in the recent Maratha agitations, is critically analysed.

I would like to thank Sudhir Shinde for accompanying me to Chinchner-Vandan, Satara and arranging meetings with local Dalit leaders, Aba Mahadeo Danane, Vishnu Danane, Sunny Danane, and Pradeep More for giving me time and detailed information, and the referee for suggestions, which helped strengthen my arguments and analysis.

Maharashtra has been experiencing acute caste conflicts over the past few months. Until December 2016, more than 49 Maratha Kranti Mook Morchas (hereafter, Maratha agitations) were held, both in the country and abroad. Of these, 42 were held in Maharashtra (one each in Hyderabad, Indore, Delhi, and Bidar); and three outside India (in St Petersburg, New York, and Dubai). These agitations were non-violent in nature unlike the recent protests for quotas by the Patidars, Gujjars, and Jats.

The first Maratha agitation took place in Aurangabad on 9 August 2016; its immediate trigger was the alleged gang rape and murder of a Maratha girl by three young Dalit men in Kopardi, Ahmednagar district, on 13 July. The conglomeration of Marathas, the Maratha Kranti Samiti, articulated four main demands: death penalty for the accused in the Kopardi case; scrapping the Scheduled Castes (SCS) and the Scheduled Tribes (STS) (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (hereafter, PoA Act), arguing that it is being grossly misused; the long-standing demand of extending reservations to Marathas in public employment and education; and the implementation of the recommendations made by the National Commission on Farmers.

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Updated On : 14th Dec, 2017
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