Activist throws turmeric powder on Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil during meet in Solapur; minister refuses police action
Dhangar activist Shekhar Bangale throws turmeric powder on minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil. Pic/Twitter
While organisations of the Other Backward Classes (OBC) have threatened protests over the government’s decision to give Kunbi caste certificates to Marathas from parts of Marathwada, the sizable Dhangar community has revived its demand for a separate quota.
An activist of the Dhangar Aarakshan Kruti Samiti, Shekhar Bangale, threw ‘bhandara’ (holy turmeric powder) on Revenue Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, who was on an official visit to Solapur on Friday. The minister, who was being briefed by Bangale and others, was caught unawares.
Shekhar Bangale, member of Dhangar Aarakshan Kruti Samiti. Pic/Twitter
Bangale was overpowered by the minister’s security personnel, but not before he raised slogans. Vikhe Patil has asked the police to not take any action against Bangale. Some activists from the same delegation called Bangale’s act a publicity stunt. Bangale had done something similar with BJP leader and the then education minister Vinod Tawde. Currently, the Dhangar community has been given 3.5 per cent reservation under the Vimukta Jati & Nomadic Tribes (VJNT) category of Maharashtra. But it has been asking for a quota as ‘Dhangad’ like they have been given in other states.
In a statement on Friday, Vikhe Patil said, “Reservation is a sensitive issue and it can be resolved through discussion. I’m not upset [because of Bangale’s act], but happy that I was showered with holy turmeric that comes from a revered deity, Lord Khandoba,” he added.
Vikhe Patil said the government was sensitive in dealing with the community’s demand. “I promise that I will take up the demand with the CM and Deputy CMs on priority basis. I will give my time to the community to discuss the issue. They can come to me anywhere,” he said.
Marathas meet with CM
A delegation of Maratha activists was scheduled to meet CM Eknath Shinde late on Friday night. Manoj Jarange, who has been fasting since August 29 at Antarwali Sarati in Jalna district to demand Kunbi caste certificates for Marathas who were notified as Kunbi during the erstwhile Nizam state, rejected the GR that mandated a genealogy record to get OBC concessions and the certificate. A panel headed by a retired high court judge has been formed to prepare SOPs for the certification.
Jarange has demanded the removal of the genealogy clause. The Maratha delegation was to discuss the matter on Friday with Shinde, who would be at the G20 meet in New Delhi from Saturday.