NCP leader Dhananjay Munde
NCP leader Dhananjay Munde

Mumbai: The chorus is growing for the withdrawal of over 5,000 cases filed by the police against those involved in the agitation to press for reservation for the politically influential Maratha community in the state. Chhatrapati Sambhajiraje, who is Rajya Sabha member, and NCP leader Dhananjay Munde have made a strong case for the same, especially after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced the withdrawal of offences against environmentalists who staged a protest against tree cutting at Aarey Colony and also those who opposed violence at Bhima Koregaon. They also reminded that the government has also announced the withdrawal of offences against activists who took part against the development of multi-crore refinery at Nanar in Ratnagiri district.

Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde told FPJ that the state cabinet at its meeting on Wednesday discussed the issue and in due course of time will take a decision in this regard.

Maratha Kranti Morcha spearheaded the agitation between 2017 and 2018 and took out 56 silent marches across the state demanding reservation for the Maratha community. More than 44 activists died. The police had registered offences for the violation of prohibitory orders, staging rasta roko, slogan-shouting without due permission and also for damage to the public and private properties. Former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had promised to withdraw such cases though there has been no action on the ground.

Chhatrapati Sambhajiraje, in his communication, has appealed to Thackeray to issue necessary directives for the withdrawal of cases against Maratha community activists.

On the other hand, Munde brought to Thackeray's notice that offences are registered largely against youths who are poor and engaged in farming. "These youths are unable to pursue their education or seek job due to offences and therefore the government has to immediately issue directive for the withdrawal of cases," Munde told FPJ.

Furthermore, MKM coordinator Vinod Patil said the government can withdraw such cases based on its previous notification. ''The Congress-NCP government during 1999-2014 had issued notification whereby the committees comprising district collector and police commissioner in the city and district collector and superintendent of police in rural areas were assigned to review cases where damage to the property is less than Rs 5 lakh. These committees were mandated to make their recommendations to the courts. However, this has not been happening,'' he noted.

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