Mumbai: Maratha activist Manoj Jarange Patil turned the heat on the coalition government in Maharashtra on Thursday by demanding that the clause from Government Regulation (GR) on genealogy be deleted while giving Kunbi caste certificate to Marathas from Marathwada.
Jarange Patil is on an indefinite fast at Antarwali Sarati village of Jalna district insisting on reservation for Marathas. The government had sent senior minister Girish Mahajan, who is known to be close to Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, to initiate a dialogue with him in a bid to defuse the crisis.
The GR issued on Thursday stipulated that Kunbi caste certificates would be issued only after community members provide genealogical records from the Nizam-era.
On Wednesday, the state cabinet decided that Kunbi caste certificates would be issued to Marathas from the region who possess revenue or education documents from the Nizam era that recognise them as Kunbis. Marathwada was part of the erstwhile Nizam-ruled Hyderabad kingdom before it became part of Maharashtra.
The Kunbi community
Kunbis, a community associated with agriculture-related occupations, are grouped under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category and enjoy reservation benefits in education and government jobs. After the cabinet decision, Maratha community members from Marathwada recognised as Kunbis can avail of the OBC quota.
Meanwhile, former state minister Arjun Khotkar met Jarange and urged him to end his indefinite fast. In response, Jarange conveyed his willingness to end the hunger strike only after the amendment sought by him was made in the GR.
Speaking on the occasion, Khotkar stated, “We are committed to this resolution and I have provided this in writing. I have come on behalf of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.” Khotkar extended an invitation to Jarange to come to Mumbai for further discussions on the quota issue.
The cabinet decision came after protests by members of the Maratha community across the state in view of police action on pro-quota protesters in Jalna district on September 1. The police had baton-charged and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse a violent mob at Antarwali Sarathi after protesters allegedly refused to let authorities shift Jarange to hospital. Several persons, including 40 police personnel, were injured and more than 15 state transport buses set ablaze in violence.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress Committee president Nana Patole on Thursday said that if his party is voted to power in the state and at the Centre in the next elections, it would provide reservation to the Maratha community by increasing the 50% cap on quota.
Patole was addressing a press conference here on the sidelines of the Congress' 'Jan Samvad Yatra'.
Nana Patole blames BJP over Maratha quota issue
He blamed the ruling BJP over the Maratha reservation issue. “Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had promised during the 2014 elections that the BJP would provide reservation to Marathas if it is voted in power in the state and the Centre. They had also promised quota to the Dhangar (shepherd) community as well although it was not their (BJP's) right to do so,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI)