Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra assembly Vijay Wadettiwar on Saturday demanded the resignation of Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also holds the home portfolio, over the violence tied to a Maratha quota protest in Jalna district.
Nearly 40 policemen and a few protesters were injured on Friday after cops used baton-charge and fired teargas shells to disperse a violent mob at Antarwali Sarathi village on Dhule-Solapur road in Ambad tehsil.
Speaking to reporters at Nagpur airport, Wadettiwar said the government should conduct a fair probe into the incident and seek an apology from the Maratha community. He also demanded the resignation of the home minister.
The Congress leader claimed that the agitation and subsequent police action were the results of the “wrong” decisions of the government.
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The protesters, led by Manoj Jarange, had been staging a hunger strike at the village demanding reservations for the Maratha community since Tuesday. The trouble began when police tried to shift Jarange to a hospital on doctors’ advice, according to officials.
Wadettiar said the Maharashtra government did not take any steps to resolve the quota issue after the Supreme Court’s decision one and a half years ago due to which the “unfortunate incident of lathi charge took place on members of the Maratha community fighting peacefully for their rights”.
The reservation in government jobs and admission in educational institutions provided by the state government for the politically dominant Maratha community was quashed by the Supreme Court earlier.
Wadettiwar said the Jalna violence indicates that the government is not interested in ensuring reservation for the Maratha community and that it made a false promise for political benefits. He said the government misled the people as the Maratha quota could not be implemented unless reservation was increased beyond 50 percent and for that amendments in the law were needed. “However, those in power that time (he did not specify when) and now those who are in power took wrong decisions for selfish motives and misled the Maratha community,” he claimed. The government should apologize to the community Wadettiwar, he said, demanding that Fadnavis resign as the home minister. Former home minister Anil Deshmukh also condemned the Jalna incident.