In contrast to the fury and chaos of the recent Maratha quota protests, a day-long, State-wide agitation on Monday called by the Dhangar (shepherd) community demanding inclusion into the list of Scheduled Tribes (STs) passed off without incident.Barring traffic snarls at several places in Nagpur, Marathwada and parts of north Maharashtra, the agitation was largely peaceful, said police sources.However, Dhangar community leaders across the State warned of intensifying the agitation in the first week of September unless the Devendra Fadnavis government took a concrete step to resolve the long-pending issue. The agitation, under the banner of the Dhangar Sangharsh Samiti Maharashtra Rajya, received an enthusiastic response in Aurangabad, Nagpur, Solapur, Nanded and Jalgaon.“The Chief Minister has been putting us off with assurances. A meeting with him was held on August 10 and while the discussions were positive, he failed to clarify in how many days the State government would award the ST reservation to the community,” said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Rajya Sabha MP, Dr. Vikas Mahatme, who staged a ‘chakka jam’ in Nagpur with several protestors. Dr. Mahatme, an ophthalmologist and Padma Shri recipient, had spearheaded the agitation before the BJP came to power in 2014. He, along with 25 agitators, was briefly detained by the Nagpur police.In Sangli’s Atpadi Taluk, bus services were suspended in the wake of the agitation, while in Kolhapur, a meeting of Dhangar community leaders condemned the BJP government for hoodwinking the community with false promises. “Since 2015, the BJP-ruled government has been assuring us of granting reservation. But after four years in power, they seem to have no intention in fulfilling their pre-election promise,” said a leader at the meeting. Earlier in the day, protesters burnt tyres and blocked the Jalna-Auranagabad road for several hours, holding up traffic. Likewise, the Nagpur-Wardha road was jammed for a while as agitators demonstrated with sheep and goats along the Ahmednagar-Manmad road.In Jalgaon, peaceful protests commenced at several areas in the district.Speaking in Ahmednagar, senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse, too, urged the State to expedite the process of including the Dhangar community in the ST list.The community, currently included in the Vimukta Jati and Nomadic Tribes category, is seeking a higher quota in the ST list.Dhangar leaders in Maharashtra contend that while their brethren, called ‘Dhangad’ in other parts of the country are availing of ST benefits, those in the State are denied these owing to a long-standing typographical error on the name.On Sunday, a youth in Parbhani district had allegedly committed suicide over the delay in granting reservation to the community, which has demanded that the BJP government fulfil its poll promise to include them in the ST category.Before the 2014 Assembly election, the BJP had lured some leaders from the community with promises of reservation. After the poll, it had inducted Mahadev Jankar, a prominent Dhangar leader and chief of the Rashtriya Samaj Paksha (RSP) and minor BJP ally, into the State cabinet as a sop to the community.It had also commissioned the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to make a study on the backwardness of the community.Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) too had jumped into the fray to win the hearts and minds of the community by expressing support for the contentious Dhangar reservation issue. Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) chief Prakash Ambedkar, too, held a rally in Pandharpur in May this year in a bid to reach out to the community.
He went to a party at the Team USA house in Rio, where he said multiple people handled the medal as they celebrated. Snyder said he later discovered a scratch on the back of it, though he added there has been no further damage.Snyder said he has until the end of the week to return his gold medal and has no idea when he’ll receive his replacement.“It wasn’t too big of a deal,” Snyder said. “But since they’re giving me a new one, it’s kind of cool.”Rio de Janeiro spent about $12 billion to organize the games, which were plagued by cost-cutting, poor attendance and reports of bribes and corruption linked to the building of some Olympic-related facilities.Nine months later, many of the venues are empty and have no tenants or income — with the maintenance costs dumped on the federal government. In addition to the issues with the medals, which featured the Rio and Olympic logos, the local organizing committee still owes creditors about $30 millionGreg Massialas, a national coach for the U.S. fencing team in Rio, said in a message to AP that the silver medal his son, Alex, won is damage free. He added that he hasn’t heard about any issues with other American fencers.U.S. shooter Ginny Thrasher and boxer Claressa Shields, along with men’s tennis bronze medalist Kei Nishikori of Japan, also reported that their gold medals are intact. Lakers win 9th straight, hold off Pelicans Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. South Korea to suspend 25% of coal plants to fight pollution SEA Games: PH beats Indonesia, enters gold medal round in polo Irving’s 42, LeBron’s 34 push Cavs past Celtics in Game 4 Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend This photo provided by Kevin Snyder show Kyle Snyder’s damaged gold metal from the 2016 Rio Olympics. The medal will soon replaced by the IOC and Rio organizers because of damage. Snyder and Helen Maroulis, another U.S. gold medalist wrestler, are among a group of more than 100 athletes from around the world with defective Olympic medals. APMore than 80 American athletes have sent medals they won at the Rio Olympics to U.S. Olympic Committee headquarters to be shipped to games organizers, who will replace them due to flaking, black spots and other damage, the USOC said Tuesday (Wednesday Manila time).The Americans, including gold-medal wrestlers Kyle Snyder and Helen Maroulis, are among at least 100 Olympians from across the globe with defective medals.ADVERTISEMENT Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games LOOK: Vhong Navarro’s romantic posts spark speculations he’s marrying longtime GF ‘Coming Home For Christmas’ is the holiday movie you’ve been waiting for, here’s why More than 5,000 measles deaths in DR Congo this year — WHO LATEST STORIES Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students PLAY LIST 01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes MOST READ Beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings is also among the group; she says her bronze medal is flaking and rusting, and USA Swimming spokesman Scott Leightman said some swimmers have damaged medals as well.The USOC learned about the problems in December and reached out to all the American sports federations in January to begin the process.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingRio Games spokesman Mario Andrada said officials have noted problems with the covering on 6 to 7 percent of the medals.“The most common issue is that they were dropped or mishandled, and the varnish has come off and they’ve rusted or gone black in the spot where they were damaged,” Andrada said. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next It’s not uncommon for medals to be passed around at post-Games parties and handled by hundreds. But this amount of damage is unusual.Walsh Jennings, who won three golds in previous Olympics, says her medals tend to get beaten up because she doesn’t hesitate to let people touch them or try them on. But she won’t consider locking them up because people are inspired by them.“They’ve offered to replace them. I’m not sure if I want to swap it out,” Walsh-Jennings told The Associated Press, adding the reason was “100 percent sentimental.”USA Basketball spokesman Craig Miller said the organization reached out to its players and seven — three men and four women — reported they believe there is an issue with their medals.Snyder, who wrestles for Ohio State, was 20 when he won his medal. He noticed an issue with the award the day after he won it.ADVERTISEMENT View comments