Mumbai : Dhangar community geared up their agitation for the Scheduled Tribe status on Thursday across the state. Some of the agitating community members staged a rail blockade at Kurla railway station while others blocked the Mumbai-Pune highway at Kalamboli in the morning.
Similar agitations were also reported from various parts of the state. Roads were blocked in Pune and Solapur. Agitators also tried to block some of the state high-ways. Similar demonstrations were also reported from Pandharpur and Madha. Some even demonstrated outside Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s residence in Baramati.
“It has been our long pending demand to include the Dhangar community in Scheduled Tribes list. If the government still does not agree to fulfill our demands, we will not support them in the upcoming Assembly elections,” Dhangar Samaj Arakshan Kriti Samiti President Madhav Gadade told reporters in Mumbai.
He said that the community members strongly oppose the Maharashtra cabinet’s decision to recommend to the Centre for community’s inclusion into the Third Schedule of the Constitution.
“We are followers of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and do not want to be included in the Third Schedule. It is our right to be included in the Scheduled Tribes list and we will continue fighting for our right,” Gadade said.
The state cabinet on Wednesday decided to send a recommendation to the Centre to include the Dhangar community into the Third Schedule.
The community claims a significant presence in 78 of 288 Assembly seats.
Dhangar community members raised the pitch for ST tag after the government sanctioned 16 per cent reservation for Marathas and 5 per cent for Muslims in government jobs and educational institutions.
Meanwhile, railway officials said that suburban trains running towards Kurla station were affected by the protest and were running late by about 15 minutes.
“Three trains were particularly affected due to the protest at Kurla railway station. Two trains running towards CST and one towards Thane were running late