Jobs for kin of 42 dead pro-Maratha quota activists

In a bid to keep the politically influential Maratha community in a good humour, the Shiv Sena led Maha Vikas Aghadi government on Wednesday took a decision to provide jobs in the State Transport Corporation (MSRTC) to kith and kin of 42 activists died during the pro-Maratha reservation agitation between 2016 and 2018. The state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray also approved to give Rs 10 lakh in cash to their relatives.

Maratha community had mobilised under the aegis of Maratha Kranti Morcha and took out 56 morchas between 2016 and 2018 to press for quota. By far the agitation was peaceful but some of the activists gave their lives for the cause.

These two decisions come when the Supreme Court has listed for hearing on September 1 petitions challenging the legality of a Maharashtra State law providing 12% reservation in education and 13% in government jobs for the Maratha community under the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act 2,018.

The apex court will hear on August 25 several applications filed to refer the challenge to Maratha reservation — which takes quota percentage in the State over the 50% mark declared by a nine-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in the Indira Sawhney case — to a numerically superior, possibly 11-judge Bench, of the top court.

Already a section of BJP and its allies have attacked the MVA government for not taking the Maratha quota test in the Supreme Court. BJP ally Shiv Sangram Party has demanded the removal of Public Works Minister Ashok Chavan as the chairman of the cabinet sub-committee on Maratha quota. However, Chavan has retorted these charges saying that BJP was playing a spoilsport.

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