Nashik: Continuing its ongoing agitation, the Maratha community on Saturday took out a huge silent march here under the banner of Maratha Kranti Morcha from Tapovan area to the district collector's office.
Several lakhs of people took part in the march which went on for about five hours before culminating at the Golf Grounds, organisers said.
Large number of youth, both boys and girls, and women were seen participating. As elsewhere in the state, the morcha was peaceful and disciplined, PTI reported.
Since morning today, neigbouring cities, towns and villages were abuzz with hectic activities as motor vehicles said to be arranged by organisers were taking rounds to carry the protesters to Nashik, ummid.com reporters said.
Though the organisers had claimed over 10 lakh Marathas will converge in the city for the protest march, according to authorities, some 3 lakh protesters gathered in Nashik.
The community, pre-dominant in Maharashtra politics, has been taking out silent marches in various cities of the state over the last one month, following the rape and murder of a girl at Kopardi in Ahmednagar district two months ago. The victim girl was a Maratha while the accused are Dalits.
Six girls submitted a memorandum of demands to the collector Radhakrishnan B, which included strict action against the accused in the Kopardi case, abolition of the SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, reservations for the Maratha community, etc.
Besides NCP MP from Satara Udayan Raje Bhosale, Maharashtra Minister Dada Bhuse, MP Hemant Godse, BJP MLA Apoorva Hirey, Seema Hirey, Shiv Sena MLA Anil Kadam were the political leaders who were present.
"The Kopardi culprits should be shot dead in public", Bhosale said while addressing the protesters.
Across the city there were saffron flags and arches to welcome the morcha, along with booths providing water and snacks, etc.
Police had deployed around 1,200 personnels across the city, the city police commissioner Ravindra Kumar Singh said.
Earlier, the Maratha rallies in Navi Mumbai, Akola, Latur, Jalna and Nanded drew huge crowds. On Friday, the Maratha Morcha was held in Ahmednagar and it too drew a huge crowd.