Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange on Tuesday said he will continue his fast until the government issues an order offering reservation to his community in Maharashtra.
Jarange, aged around 40, has been on an indefinite hunger strike since August 29 at Antarwali Sarati village in Jalna district of central Maharashtra, demanding reservation in jobs and education under the OBC category for the Maratha community.
"I will continue my fast until the state government comes with an order offering reservation to the Maratha community. I would be the only protester who forced the state government to take back its faulty order. I want a permanent solution to this mess," Jarange told reporters at the protest site in Jalna.
CM Shinde Calls For All-Party Meet
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Monday presided over an all-party meeting in Mumbai held in the backdrop of the ongoing Maratha quota agitation led by Jarange. Shinde later said all parties attending the meeting passed a resolution requesting Jarange to withdraw his fast.
The CM announced the withdrawal of police cases filed against pro-Maratha reservation protesters in Jalna district, the epicentre of the latest round of stir on the issue.
He also announced the suspension of three police officials involved in lathi-charge on quota agitators in Jalna earlier this month.
On Tuesday, state minister Sandipan Bhumre and Shiv Sena leader from Jalna Arjun Khotkar met Jarange and shared the resolutions passed at the all-party meeting. Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide also met Jarange and requested him to withdraw his fast.
However, Jarange maintained that he would continue his protest as there has been no concrete decision from the state government over his demand for quota for the Maratha community.
Shinde on Monday said, "Maharashtra is a progressive state. We want harmony and peace among all communities. All parties passed a resolution requesting Manoj Jarange to withdraw his fast. I personally request him to call off his fast. The state government needs time to complete the procedure to make decisions (on quota issue)."
Panel Set Up Over Maratha Reservation Issue
A five-member panel headed by Judge Sandeep Shinde (retired) has been set up to determine the Standard Operating Procedure, including legal and administrative framework, for giving caste certificates to Maratha community members referred to as Kunbis (part of OBCs now) in Nizam-era documents. This will allow Marathas from the Marathwada region to avail quota benefits under the OBC category.
The committee formed by the state government has got down to work and it needs some time to complete its task, said the CM.
"The Justice Shinde Committee has held its first meeting and has been given one month to submit a report. The government has also agreed to most of the demands made by Jarange. I appeal to protesting people to end their agitation. Jarange is not making any personal demands...he is doing it for his community, but it will take some time for the (quota) issue to be resolved," Shinde said.