Mumbai: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Dhananjay Munde asked today the Maharashtra government to withdraw police cases filed against Maratha reservation protesters, saying the action smacked of “vendetta”. In a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council said Maratha protesters were being falsely implicated in criminal cases related to stone pelting, arson and attempt to murder.
“The government should stop this vendetta and withdraw all the cases (against protesters),” Munde said and slammed the BJP-led administration over its handling of the Maratha protests, which turned violent. The Maratha community had taken out 58 silent marches all over the state in the past in support of their demand for reservation in government jobs and education, he said.
These rallies were peaceful and a fine example of how to highlight a particular demand, but the government did not respond to the issue raised by the community, Munde said.
“The government’s attitude towards the silent protests was that of apathy which is why the situation has taken a violent turn. “The protesters decided to stop the chief minister from participating in the annual Vitthal-Rukmini puja on Ashadhi Ekadashi (in Pandharpur town on July 23).
“Fadnavis’ comments regarding this step (threat of protest by Maratha groups if he visited the town) added fuel to the fire,” Munde said. The present situation is because of “irresponsible and insensitive” behaviour of the BJP-led government, he said.
“Instead of taking action against those responsible for instigating violence, Maratha youths are being falsely implicated,” the NCP leader said. He assured his party’s cooperation to the government in extending the benefit of reservation to the Marathas.