Manoj Jarange. File pic
Activist Manoj Jarange on Monday night announced a chain hunger strike will be launched in all villages of Maharashtra from December 1 in support of reservation for Maratha community members and accused political parties of conspiring to deprive them of quota benefits. Jarange, spearheading the latest agitation seeking reservation for the Marathas in government jobs and education under the OBC category, said the pro-quota stir has reached a "decisive stage" and community members will fight for their right by remaining within four walls of law and through non-violent means. Addressing a well-attended rally in Navi Mumbai, the activist asserted any amount of misleading tactics by his distractors would not work as he was "in the blood of Marathas" and would continue to fight for reservation.
Had the Marathas been given reservation 75 years ago, by now they would have flourished and earned name and fame, and occupied important positions in all-India services like IAS and the IPS, he maintained. "A well-planned conspiracy has been hatched by all the political parties to keep us deprived of reservation," alleged Jarange, who has given the Maharashtra government time till December 24 to resolve the quota issue. He said government records are now coming out to show that Kunbis, already classified as a social group under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category and enjoying quota benefits, were once treated as a sub-caste within the Maratha community. Jarange has been demanding Kunbi tag for Maratha community members so that they, too, can enjoy reservation benefits.
"Now after we have given them hard push they have started getting records (of Kunbis as a sub-caste within the Maratha community) after claiming such documents do not exist at all," he said. Jarange vowed to continue fighting till Marathas get reservation benefits. "If records show reservations existed for the Marathas in the past, then we demand to know the person who did not allow the extension of this benefit to community members. What sin we have committed to not get reservations?" he questioned. He declared that from December 1, a chain hunger fast will be undertaken in each and every village of the state in support of quota demand.
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"Do not resort to severe agitations or arson. Maratha youths should not commit suicide. If they commit suicide who will take the benefits of reservation?" Jarange asked. He asked women of the community to undertake a door-to-door campaign to spread awareness about the need for Maratha reservation. "The next fight is going to be a mega fight. A mass awakening is absolutely necessary for the same. All should be alert," he exhorted the crowd and added "the victory for the Marathas was not far away". Jarange advised his supporters to remain united. "We will take reservation by remaining within four walls of law. Till you get reservation keep patience," he asked the gathering.
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