Maharashtra: Government Scrambles To Contain Maratha Agitation; Patil Calls Meeting On Monday

Maharashtra: Government Scrambles To Contain Maratha Agitation; Patil Calls Meeting On Monday

Chandrakant Patil, the BJP leader heading the cabinet subcommittee on Maratha reservation, has called a subcommittee meeting for Monday.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Saturday, October 28, 2023, 09:48 PM IST
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Manoj-Jarange Patil (left) DCM Fadnavis (Right) | File pic

Amid escalating Maratha agitation, the state government has been scrambling to address the issue, spurred by the seventh suicide in support of the movement, the deteriorating health of Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange-Patil, and hunger strikes taking place in various locations across the state as part of the second phase of the Maratha protests on Saturday. Chandrakant Patil, the BJP leader heading the cabinet subcommittee on Maratha reservation, has called a subcommittee meeting for Monday.

The first phase of the agitation began by blocking political leaders from entering villages, with six Maratha volunteers committing suicide at different locations across the state in the past week. On Saturday, 65-year-old Vyankat Narsinh Dhopare from Latur district took his own life by jumping into the Indrayaji river in Alandi. In his suicide note, he expressed frustration over his son's unemployment and the absence of job reservations for Marathas, despite their numerous protests, including those he had participated in as his village's sarpanch. He had been residing with his son Sandip in Narhe Ambegaon, Pune.

As the seventh Maratha individual took his life in support of reservation, Manoj Jarange-Patil escalated his protest, calling on community members to begin a fast-unto-death in all villages across Maharashtra starting Sunday. He once again implored the state government to take the protest seriously and provide reservation. Simultaneously, he appealed to Maratha youth to refrain from extreme measures like suicide and urged them to keep politicians away from the villages.

Jarange Patil emphasized, "I urge the government to take our agitation seriously and provide reservation to Marathas on top priority. I am telling the government one last time… don’t take the agitation lightly… don’t be complacent. Otherwise, you will find it difficult to handle what comes next." This statement was made during a press conference in Antarwali Saraati village of Jalna district, where he resumed his fast-unto-death four days ago.

"Today is October 28. Starting from Sunday, we are commencing the second phase of our protest. This will be the largest fast-unto-death demonstration in the country, with a significant number of citizens participating. Tomorrow, our community members are urged to initiate a fast-unto-death at the village level across the state. Everyone should hydrate and then begin their fast-unto-death from tomorrow," he declared.

"This protest can be undertaken by those who are able to participate. Villagers should gather in one location for the fast-unto-death. We aim to determine if this will have an impact on the government and if it takes our protest seriously. If any harm befalls those fasting, the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Ministers, and the state government will bear full responsibility," Jarange-Patil emphasized. He further noted that the third phase of the protest is scheduled to begin on October 31, with details to be provided on October 30.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis appealed to the Maratha community that Jarange-Patil should come with the state government and work for the cause of Maratha quota since the state government has already repeatedly said that it wants to ensure that the community gets a lasting reservation within the existing legal framework. The necessary procedures will have to be completed for that and all efforts are being done for that, he said.

Higher and technical education minister Chandrakant Patil, who heads the cabinet subcommittee on Maratha reservation, called an urgent meeting at the Mantralaya on Monday 10 am. At the meeting, the committee under Justice (Rtd) Sandeep Shinde, which was appointed to devise the methodology to issue Kunbi caste certificates to Maratha community after legal and administrative verification of valid evidences, shall present the work they have done till now, Patil said while explaining the purpose of the meeting.

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