Last Updated: September 16, 2023, 18:12 IST
The Maharashtra government is clear about not disturbing the OBC quota in any way, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Saturday amid protests to oppose the inclusion of the Maratha community in the Other Backward Class category for reservation purposes.
Fadnavis appealed to OBC members to end their protest in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, Nagpur, and Chandrapur.
Speaking to reporters at Nagpur airport, Fadnavis said, “The state government has taken a clear stand about not touching, reducing, or sharing the OBC quota. Hence, we request the OBC community to withdraw their agitation.” The deputy CM said he personally requested the agitators in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, where he attended a special cabinet meeting earlier in the day. “I believe that those (protesters) in Sambhajinagar will end their hunger strike,” he said.
Fadnavis said those agitating in Chandrapur and Nagpur should also withdraw their protest. “I will be meeting those in Nagpur and request them to withdraw their agitation,” he said.
The Maratha quota issue returned to centre stage in the state when the police on September 1 baton-charged a violent mob at Antarwali Sarati village in Jalna district after protesters allegedly refused to let authorities shift Manoj Jarange, an activist on hunger strike over the quota issue, to a hospital.
The state then began talks with Jarange and decided to give Kunbi caste certificates to the Marathas whose ancestors were described as Kunbi in Nizam-era documents of the Hyderabad kingdom. It will allow the Marathas from the state’s Marathwada region to avail of quota benefits as the Kunbis fall in the OBC group.
However, the move prompted the Rashtriya OBC Mahasangh to launch a protest to oppose the inclusion of Marathas in the OBC category for reservation in government jobs and education.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)