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Maratha reservation row: All-party meet passes resolution urging Manoj Jarange to end his strike

A protest demanding reservation for Marathas in Maharashtra's Jalna district turned violent last week and left several people injured including the policemen.

Reported By : Namrata Dubey, Atul Singh Edited By : Arushi Jaiswal
Mumbai
Updated on: September 11, 2023 23:53 IST
All-party meeting on Maratha reservation
Image Source : INDIA TV All-party meeting on Maratha reservation

Maratha reservation row: With the Maratha reservation issue intensifying across the Marathwada region as well as other parts of the state, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde held an all-party meeting on Monday in an effort to find a resolution and break the current deadlock over the matter. The meeting was held at 'Sahyadri Guest House'. 

CM urges activist to end fast

In today's meeting, a unanimous resolution was passed that Manoj Jarange Patil should end his indefinite fast. 

The government has given orders to withdraw all the cases against the agitators. “The state government has decided to withdraw police cases filed against Maratha quota protesters. Necessary instructions have been given to officials as well,” Shinde told reporters. 

Three officers who carried out lathicharge have been suspended. “The state government has decided to suspend three police officials who were involved in lathicharge on Maratha quota protesters,” said the CM.

The committee formed by the state government has got down to work and it needs some time to complete its task, said the CM.

He said, “The Justice Shinde Committee has held its first meeting and has been given one month to submit a report. The government has also agreed to most of the demands made by Jarange. I appeal to protesting people to end their agitation. Jarange is not making any personal demands...he is doing it for his community, but it will take some time for the (quota) issue to be resolved."

Bandh was called

On the other hand a 'bandh' was called by a Maratha outfit in Maharashtra's Thane city on Monday to condemn the recent police lathi-charge against agitators in Jalna last week. Local leaders from the opposition parties in the state have declared support to the 'bandh' called by Sakal Maratha Morcha backed by the Sambhaji Brigade.

Nationalist Congress Party (Sharad Pawar faction), Shiv Sena (UBT), Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and the city unit of Congress have expressed support for the bandh.

The police presence has been deployed across the city today in response to a shutdown called by the Maratha community. Police officials have been assessing the situation since morning regarding the police deployment. The police have said that since the call for a peaceful shutdown has been given, they have made all the necessary preparations for security.

How does agitation turn violent?

Earlier on September 1, an agitation seeking a reservation for the Maratha community turned violent at Antarwali Sarathi village in Jalna district, leading to several people, including dozens of police personnel, getting injured.

According to officials, police baton charged and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse protesters in Antarwali Sarathi on Dhule-Solapur road in Jalna after they allegedly refused to let authorities shift a man on hunger strike for Maratha quota to hospital. The agitation turned violent as some people targeted state transport buses and private vehicles, police said. However villagers claimed that police fired some rounds in the air, but officials did not confirm it. 

Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange has been on hunger strike demanding Kunbi status, which effectively means OBC quota, for all Marathas. The rounds of talks between the state government and Jarange have remained inconclusive so far. Maratha outfits have since been staging agitations in different parts of the state over their various demands.

What is the issue around Maratha Reservation?

In 2018, the Devendra Fadnavis-led government in Maharashtra had given reservation to the Maratha community in jobs and higher education, however, the Maharashtra's government decision on quota was quashed by the Supreme Court in May 2021.

A 5-judge bench of the Supreme Court in May 2021 said that the Maratha community was not socially and educationally backward. It also refused a review petition in April 2023 declaring that the law which granted quota was unconstitutional. 

Maharashtra CM says committed to provide reservation to Maratha community

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said his government was committed to providing reservation to this community in education and government jobs. Shinde also said that there was no misunderstanding between him and two deputy chief ministers in the state and that all of them were working as a good team.

"My government is committed to giving reservation to the Maratha community in the state. We will not sit quiet until the community get its due reservation," Shinde said. "Till the Maratha community gets reservation, the government schemes that are already in place will continue and deserving people from the Maratha community will benefit from it," he added.

Also Read: Maratha quota row: SP MLA Raees Shaikh demands reservation for Muslims

Also Read: Why is Maratha reservation demand being raised again? Why did SC overrule Maharashtra govt's 2018 decision?

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