Mumbai: Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange on Tuesday said he was ready to end his indefinite hunger strike, but would not leave the protest site in Jalna district until the state government started issuing Kunbi caste certificates to the Maratha community from the Marathwada region.
He also said that he was giving one month’s time to the Maharashtra government so that a state-appointed committee could prepare its report on the Maratha reservation.
”If I am to discontinue my fast, the state government should first start issuing (Kunbi) caste certificates to the Maratha community. All the police cases (against Maratha quota protesters) should be withdrawn, the police officials who ordered the lathi-charge should be suspended, and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, both deputy Chief Ministers, Chhatrapati Udayanraje Bhosale and Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati should be present at the time of the withdrawal of the fast. All these assurances should be given in writing,” he told the gathering at the protest site.
Chhatrapati Udayanraje Bhosale and Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati are descendants of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Activist Manoj Jarange launches indefinite fast over Maratha quota demand as his 'deadline' for govt ends
Maratha quota stir: Jarange rejects govt's decision to grant Kunbi certificates, to stop drinking water
Jarange says he is stopping water intake, seeks to know when reservation will be given to Marathas
Maratha quota activist Jarange ends indefinite fast, gives govt two months to resolve issue
Maratha quota issue, Oppn's preparedness for LS and assembly polls figured in Pawar-Thackeray meeting: Raut
UP govt cracks down on Halal: Case against company, other organisations for providing forged halal certificates to boost sales
Jarange, aged around 40, has been on an indefinite hunger strike since August 29 at Antarwali Sarati village in Jalna district of central Maharashtra, more than 400 kms from here, demanding reservation in jobs and education under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category for the Maratha community.
The state government has set up a five-member panel headed by Judge Sandeep Shinde (retired) to determine the Standard Operating Procedures, including legal and administrative framework, for giving caste certificates to Maratha community members who have been described as `Kunbis’ in the Nizam-era documents. This will allow Marathas from the Marathwada region — which was part of the Nizam’s Hyderabad state till 1948 — to avail of quota benefits as Kunbis are now categorized as OBCs.
Marathwada region comprises eight districts – Aurangabad, Beed, Hingoli, Jalna, Latur, Nanded, Osmanabad and Parbhani.
Addressing the gathering at the protest site on Tuesday afternoon, Jarange said, ”I am ready to give the state government one month’s time so that the committee prepares a report. I have made it clear to the state government that whether its report is positive or negative, it will have to start issuing Kunbi caste certificates to the Maratha community.”
”I am walking two steps backwards so that the defamation of my community stops. I am ready to withdraw my fast, but I will not vacate this place,” he said.
Chief minister Shinde on Monday chaired an all-party meeting in Mumbai to discuss the Maratha quota issue. He later said that all the parties attending the meeting passed a resolution requesting Jarange to withdraw his fast.
The CM also 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 apprised him of the resolutions passed at the all-party meeting. Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide also met him and requested him to withdraw the fast.
But Jarange maintained that he would continue his protest as there had been no concrete decision on his demand of quota for the Maratha community.
Later in the afternoon, he also said that he was planning to hold a rally of the Maratha community at the protest site on October 12. ”It will be attended by all the Marathas. It will show our plight and disappointment….I will continue my protest here and will not even see the faces of my children till then,” he said.