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Maratha quota stir: "If I'm arrested, crores of Marathas will go on hunger strike," Jarange warns govt

Updated on: 29 February,2024 04:56 PM IST  |  Mumbai
mid-day online correspondent |

"The Maratha community and I will not give up the demand of quota for the blood relatives even if I am put in jail," Manoj Jarange said

Maratha quota stir:

Manoj Jarange/ File Photo

Maratha reservation activist Manoj Jarange has warned the government that if he is arrested, then crores of Marathas from the state will go on hunger strike. Talking to the media on Thursday, Jarange reiterated that the Maratha community is fighting for its rights.

Jarange is currently admitted at a private hospital in Maharashtra's Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, undergoing treatment after ending his fast at his native Antarwali Sarati village in Jalna three days ago. "The government still has a chance to implement the "sage soyre" (blood relatives of Kunbi Marathas) clause in draft notification. The community will appreciate it", he told the media from the hospital. 

"The Maratha community and I will not give up the demand of quota for the blood relatives even if I am put in jail. It seems the report is about to get ready before the inquiry", the activist said in regards to special investigation team's (SIT) report against him. "Let them arrest me. The route by which I will be taken to jail, the government authorities will find crores of Marathas (his supporters) sitting on hunger strike along the route," Jarange added.

Maharashtra assembly speaker Rahul Narwekar, on Tuesday, February 27 directed the government to set up an SIT and conduct a comprehensive inquiry into Jarange's controversial remarks against Deputy Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis. 

Although, after been criticised from all sides, Jarange on Tuesday expressed regret for using abusive language during the agitation, but continued targeting Fadnavis. He alleged that Fadnavis had ordered the removal of the tent at the protest site in Antarwali Sarati village. Jarange tried to travel to Antarwali Sarati village from Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar as a protest, but told by the police that no such order to remove the stage or tent had been issued to them. 

The Maratha reservation protest has taken an aggressive mode since Sunday, after Jarange made several allegations against Devendra Fadnavis and announcing that he will march to Mumbai alone to protest outside Fadnavis' official residence 'Sagar Bunglow' in Malabar Hill. Jarange had used inappropriate words against the deputy CM, including communal slurs accusing that Fadnavis tried to kill him and sabotaging the agitation. 

CM Eknatth Shinde also warned Jarange last week to not test government's patience and to not take law in his hands, otherwise strict action will be taken. Shinde also questioned Jarange's motives, and wondered "who was behind" Jarange's recent diatribe against the government.

The Maratha activist, Manoj Jarange has been on protest demanding reservation for the Maratha community in the state under Other Backward Class (OBC) category. The notification was issued in January for issuing certificates to eligible Kunbi (OBC) Marathas.

At a special session in February, the state legislature unanimously passed a bill providing 10 per cent separate reservation for the Maratha community in education and government jobs.Jarange, however, insisted on quota for the Marathas under the OBC category and had continued his protest.

The activist claimed nearly 1.5 crore persons have got reservation till now as about 57 lakh records of 'Kunbis' have been found so far, and that he has been demanding reservation for the remaining people. Jarange says the 10 per cent reservation for the Maratha community is acceptable if facilities for the SEBC (Social Economic Backward Class) are included in it.

(With PTI inputs)

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