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OBC quota stir begins to haunt Maha govt amid Maratha reservation demand

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Senjo M R
June 18, 2024 18:02 IST
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Two activists, seeking assurance that the Other Backward Class quota will not be disturbed amid the Maratha reservation demand, continued their fast for the sixth day in Jalna on Tuesday and claimed the Maharashtra government was neglecting their issues.

IMAGE: OBC activists during a protest outside Thane collector office against reservation issues, in Thane, Maharashtra, September 18, 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo

Activists Laxman Hake and Navnath Waghmare, who have been sitting on a hunger strike at Wadigodri village in Jalna district since June 13, did not allow doctors to check their health or administer intravenous fluids.


Speaking to reporters, Hake claimed the government was neglecting the issues of OBCs while giving preferential treatment to Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange.

Hake also questioned the silence of Nationalist Congress Party-Sharad Pawar head Sharad Pawar and other Maratha leaders on the OBC quota issue.

"How can the Maratha community be considered backward when 32 of its members were elected as MPs from the state in the recent Lok Sabha elections," he said.

Wadigodri is located near the Antarwali Sarathi village in Jalna where Jarange recently held a hunger strike seeking reservation for the Maratha community under the OBC category.

The OBC agitators have said they are not against the reservation for Marathas, but it should not disturb the quota for the Other Backward Classes.

Hake urged the government to decide on the matter in the state cabinet meeting scheduled on Tuesday.

He reiterated the demand for scrapping the government's draft notification that recognises Kunbis as sage soyare (blood relatives) of Maratha community members.

He claimed the government, under "pressure" from Jarange, was issuing Kunbi certificates to the Maratha community.

Kunbis are benefitting from the OBC quota, he said.

Kunbi, an agrarian group, falls under the OBC category, and Jarange has been demanding that Kunbi certificates be issued to all Marathas, thus making them eligible for quota benefits.

"Maharashtra is known as a progressive state, yet the OBC community faces political, social and economic discrimination," Hake claimed.

"Our voices are being suppressed, and no Maratha leaders are visiting our protest site. We will not give up until our demands are met," he added.

On Monday morning, a government delegation, comprising Maharashtra minister Atul Save, Rajya Sabha member Dr Bhagwat Karad and Shiv Sena MP Sandipan Bhumre, requested the activists to end their fast or at least drink water.

The activists, however, have remained firm on continuing their agitation and demanded a written assurance from the government of protection of the OBC quota.

On Monday evening, state NCP minister Dhananjay Munde and his cousin and BJP leader Pankaja Munde also met with the OBC activists.

Pankaja Munde emphasised the need for the government to treat all protesters equally, highlighting the deteriorating condition of the activists, who have also stopped drinking water.

Dhananjay Munde assured the protesters that he would present their demands to the government.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Senjo M R© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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