Amid spate of incidents of violence and arsons during the Maratha reservation protests in various parts of Maharashtra and the warning by Manoj Jarange Patil to harden his stand by not drinking water demanding the quota, the MahaYuti Government at an all party meeting on Wednesday succeeded to bring the opposition on board and pass an unanimous resolution that the reservation should be provided within the framework of the law without doing injustice to other communities. The ruling and opposition appeared on the same page when the participants at the meeting chaired by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde strongly condemned the violence and urged the activists to maintain peace. They also appealed to Jarange Patil, who is not in a mood to settle but for a decision on reservation to the entire Maratha community by convening a special session of the state legislature, to withdraw his fast and cooperate the government in its ongoing efforts to provide the quota which will stand the legal test.
At the same time, the state government has adopted a no nonsense approach by sending out a stern message to Jarange Patil that it will no more tolerate violence and arson especially targeting the legislators, ministers, MPs and the elected representatives in general as it will be dealt with firmly. The government has given directions to the police department to take all the possible measures to maintain law and order and the necessary action against those indulging in violence. This is to avoid further flare up and also to curb divisions among various communities including Marathas, OBCs, Dhangars and Tribals. The government has also reached out to OBCs, who are being targeted by the pro-Maratha quota activists and Jarange Patil, to remain peaceful and avoid any confrontation. The government has assured to provide adequate security to OBC leaders. Besides, it has stepped up security across Maharashtra especially to the ministers and elected representatives.
It was also decided that none of the ministers will visit Antarwali Sarati in Jalna district to hold dialogue with Jarange Patil despite him insisting that the government should send its representative for talks. However, the government appeared to be clueless on how Jarange Patil would be convinced to call off his protest.
‘’There was unanimity among all parties that the Maratha community should get a reservation which will sustain and pass the legal scrutiny without doing injustice to other communities. However, everyone expressed serious concern over the agitation that has become violent and agreed that the government should take concrete steps to maintain law and order,’’ said Shinde. He further stated that an advisory board comprising three retired judges has been constituted to assist the government on the quota issue and at the same time the State Backward Classes Commission is working on a war footing in the compilation of an empirical data.
‘’Maratha community needs to be patient as it needs to give time to the government. Manoj Jarange Patal has been unanimously requested to cooperate in this process,’’ said Shinde.
However, Jarange-Patil was not happy with the resolution passed at the all party meeting seeking more time and declined to have any interaction with the government. He declared that he will not consume a drop of water until the Maratha community gets the reservation. ‘’I will not withdraw from the ongoing fight. I can no more tolerate injustice on the Maratha community members,’’he roared.
‘’Why the government need more time? The agitation will continue as the Maratha community does not want reservation in pieces but it should be provided to the entire community,’’ he said while expressing anger over the filing of ‘’false’’ cases against the activists by the police.
Jarange Patil wanted the government to not cheat but tell him in candid terms how the reservation will be provided. He alleged a government conspiracy behind the internet ban in certain districts of Marathwada and warned the government not to vitiate the atmosphere.
Reservation expert Dr Balasaheb Sarate said that the government should put on fast track giving Kunbi certificates to Maratha community from Marathwada based on the 13,400 records that were compiled by the Justice Sandeep Shinde Committee and at the same time continue its exercise to find out similar such records. ‘’If government does not get records, then in that case it may consider proof of land records, occupation, tenancy, peasantry and tilling for giving Kunbi certificates based on affidavits by the concerned persons,’’he noted. He however, argued that the government should come forward and initiate dialogue with Jarange Patil.
Meanwhile, the legislators from the ruling MahaYuti government, especially from the NCP led by Ajit Pawar today locked the entrance of Mantralaya and staged dharna demanding Maratha reservation. Furthermore, the Maha Vikas Aghadi legislators took out a march in Vidhan Bhavan and handed over the memorandum to the Maharashtra Legislative Council Deputy Chairperson Neelam Gorhe demanding a special session of the state legislature on the Maratha reservation issue.
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