A Maratha community member from Dharashiv in Maharashtra, who was the first one to be given the Kunbi caste certificate in the district as part of the ongoing survey exercise, has decided to return the document to the authorities, saying he wants all Marathas in the state to be given this benefit.
The man, Sumit Mane, was given the Kunbi caste certificate by the Dharashiv district authorities on Wednesday.
Hours after accepting the certificate, he said he would give it back to the authorities, maintaining that if the government was feeding only him but keeping his brothers hungry, it was not acceptable to him.
Authorities in Dharashiv on Wednesday started distributing Kunbi caste certificates to the eligible Maratha community members, paving the way for their inclusion in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category.
Mane, who hails from Kari village in the district, was the first one to be given the certificate based on the proof.
"I was given the Kunbi caste certificate on Wednesday. At that time, I told the district collector that if these certificates are given to the entire Maratha community, I will accept it or else I will either return it to the government or burn it," he said.
"If the government is feeding only me and keeping my brothers hungry, it will not be acceptable to me. Give it (Kunbi certificate) to everyone, then I will accept it. Therefore, I have now decided to return it to the government," Mane added.
The Maharashtra cabinet had last month decided that Kunbi caste certificates will be issued to those Marathas hailing from Marathwada region who possess revenue or education documents from the Nizam era that recognise them as Kunbis.
On Tuesday, the state government published an order asking officials concerned to issue fresh Kunbi caste certificates to eligible Maratha community members, paving the way for them to avail reservation benefits under the OBC category.
The government resolution (GR) issued on Tuesday asked the officials to translate old documents having references to Kunbis and written in Urdu and 'Modi' script (which was used to write Marathi language in earlier times).
Kunbis, a community associated with agriculture, are grouped under the OBC category in Maharashtra and enjoy reservation benefits in education and government jobs.
Maratha activist Manoj Jarange has been observing an indefinite fast for the quota demand at Antarwali Sarati village in Jalna district since October 25.