Activist Manoj Jarange Patil gave another ultimatum to the Maharashtra government on the issue of Maratha reservation in the state. Patil on Friday warned that Marathas will march towards Mumbai if the state government fails to issue a GR (government resolution) regarding Maratha reservation by Friday night.
The protesters are demanding Kunbi (OBC) status to the Maratha community. On January 16, Jarange had demanded that Kunbi caste certificates should be issued to 54 lakh Marathas within two days.
“So far, 54 lakh records have been found showing members of the Maratha caste as belonging to the farming Kunbi community, and all these persons (or their descendants) should be immediately given Kunbi certificates,” Jarange said.
Also read: Maratha Reservation: OBC leaders protest, Maharashtra Minister Chhagan Bhujbal on target. 5 things to know
Thousands of protesters led by Manoj Jarange reached Navi Mumbai on Thursday night and the government is trying to convince them not to enter Mumbai. According to his plan, Jarange along with his supporters was to start a hunger strike at Azad Maidan on Friday.
On Friday, hundreds of protesters demonstrated near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in south Mumbai, blocking traffic. Despite Mumbai Police issuing him a notice and refusing to allow him to hold a hunger strike in the city, Jarange on Thursday announced that he will reach Azad Maidan in south Mumbai on January 26.
“The protesters, who were going to Azad Maidan, sat down at the intersection near CSMT and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) headquarters,” news agency PTI quoted an official as saying. “Police reached the spot and asked the agitators to go to Azad Maidan,” the officer said.
On Thursday, the Mumbai Police issued a notice to Jarange, stating that no ground in the city could accommodate the large number of protesters accompanying them, and advised them to organize their agitation in Navi Mumbai instead.
However, Jarrange remained adamant on marching towards Mumbai despite the police notice, saying that Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar should come forward to personally discuss the issue to resolve it.
Maratha will not go towards Mumbai on Friday and will remain in Navi Mumbai for now.
“Now we have one last stop left, which is in Vashi. After Vashi, we will peacefully move towards Mumbai, but we will not come back without reservation. From today, our numbers will increase and all the Maratha people of Maharashtra will gather in Mumbai. Will happen. The people of Mumbai are also with us,” Patil was quoted as saying earlier this week.
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A delegation led by senior government officials, including the divisional commissioner of Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, had met Jarange and convinced him not to go to Mumbai. He was told that another delegation would meet him with more government decisions.
Navi Mumbai police officials also met Jarange and requested him to change the route of his march as there is a hospital on the route. Police requested the organizers to change their route and travel via the old Pune-Mumbai highway.
Also read: Maratha Kota stir: ‘Will stop drinking water from this evening if…’, activist Jarange
Maharashtra Chief Minister Shinde had earlier reiterated that his government is committed to providing reservation to Marathas without disturbing the existing quota of other communities.
The Chief Minister said, “My government will give reservation which will undergo legal scrutiny. A total of 1.4 lakh people are currently participating in the ongoing survey. They are working in three shifts. So far the discussions with Jarange have been positive.” Said.
Also read: Maratha Quota: CM Eknath Shinde says Maratha reservation has been agreed upon within the legal framework in the all-party meeting.
Shinde had last month said that if necessary, a special session of the state legislature would be held in February to provide reservation to the Maratha community.
In October last year, the Maharashtra government published an order asking concerned authorities to issue new Kunbi caste certificates to eligible Maratha community members, paving the way for them to avail reservation benefits under the OBC category .
According to PTI report, a government resolution (GR) has asked officials to translate old documents containing references to Kunbis and written in Urdu and ‘Modi’ script (which was used to write the Marathi language in earlier times). Had asked for.
(with inputs from agencies)
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Published: 26 January 2024, 05:18 PM IST