Maratha quota: Implement draft notification on Kunbi Marathas or face protests from Feb 24, says Manoj Jarange

21 February,2024 04:45 PM IST |  Jalna  |  mid-day online correspondent

Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange on Wednesday said that the Maharashtra government should implement the draft notification on Kunbi Marathas within two days or face protests from February 24

Manoj Jarange. File Pic

Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange on Wednesday said that the Maharashtra government should implement the draft notification on Kunbi Marathas within two days or face protests from February 24, the PTI reported.

If the Maharashtra government fails to implement it, the community members would stage non-violent road blockades across the state from February 24, reported the PTI.

Speaking at a meet of the Maratha community members at Antarwali sarti village in Jalna district of Maharashtra, where he has been on a hunger strike since February 10, Manoj Jarange insisted on peaceful demonstrations and not resorting to violence during the protests, reported the PTI.

Earlier in the day, the activist told reporters that the bill providing 10 per cent reservation to the Maratha community would not stand legal scrutiny and reiterated his demand that the Maharashtra government's draft notification on "sage soyare", or blood relatives, of Kunbi Marathas be converted into a law, as per the PTI.

Manoj Jarange later appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take a serious note of the matter and not hold the (upcoming Lok Sabha) elections until the reservation issue is addressed.

The Maharashtra legislature during a one-day special session on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill providing 10 per cent reservation for the Marathas in education and government jobs under a separate category, but Manoj Jarange has been firm on his demand for quota for the community under the OBC head.

A substantial number of castes and groups are already placed in the reserved category, getting about 52 per cent of reservations altogether. It would be completely inequitable to place the Maratha community in the Other Backward Class (OBC) category, the bill said, as per the PTI,

As per the draft notification issued by the state government last month, if a Maratha person has proof to show that he or she belongs to Kunbi caste, the person's blood relatives too would be recognised as Kunbi.

Kunbis fall under the OBC category and get quota benefits.

The scrutiny of the draft notification issued last month for granting certificates to extended blood relatives of Kunbi Marathas is currently underway as 6 lakh objections have been received, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde told the legislative assembly on Tuesday.

Jarange said the government issued a draft notification for giving quota to the relatives of Marathas but didn't implement it and no discussion took place over it in the special session of the assembly.

"People still have faith in Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. He should spell out the hurdles in implementing the quota for relatives (of Marathas)," he said, the news agency reported on Wednesday.

"The Maratha community people have understood that this is the same reservation that they were given earlier also (but was later struck down). The Maratha community has nothing to do with the 10 per cent reservation given in the special assembly session on Tuesday. It will not stand legal scrutiny," he said, according to the PTI.

Later, during a meeting with the Maratha community members, Manoj Jarange demanded that the draft notification be implemented within two days, failing which he warned of a series of non-violent 'rasta roko' agitations across various villages, towns and cities in the state.

Give memorandums to officers (concerned) for implementing the 'sage soyare' notification. This should be done everyday from February 24, he said.

The 'rasta roko' protests would also be held at every district level on March 3, he said.

He urged all Marathas to actively participate in the protests, emphasising that the agitation aims to be non-disruptive with participants expected to return to their work or farms after the demonstration.

The activist stressed that the 'rasta roko' protests should not inconvenience students appearing for exams, and if students are stuck, the Maratha activists would take the responsibility of ensuring their safe transport to the examination halls.

If the reservation is not implemented, elderly members of the Maratha community would resort to hunger strikes from February 24-29, he said, adding that CM Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis would be responsible for any harm caused to those protesters.

Around 20 lakh senior members of the Maratha community would participate in hunger strikes across the state, Jarange said.

He also appealed to the community members to adhere to a code of conduct during elections, while urging them not to allow political campaigners into their villages or homes.

"Don't allow any politician at your door, he said.

He also appealed to the government to not hold elections until their reservation demand is met.

The activist warned that if the polls are held, vehicles (pertaining to poll campaigns) would not be allowed in villages and the protestors would seize them and keep them parked in cow sheds.

"Ask public representatives of the Maratha community whether they would support the reservation and ask them to implement the notification on 'sage soyare'," he said at the meeting.

(with PTI inputs)

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