Turning down an appeal issued by all political parties to end his indefinite fast, Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange Patil on November 1 said he would continue to remain on fast till reservation for the entire Maratha community is officially announced.

Patil, sitting on indefinite fast since October 25 in Jalna, has threatened to stop drinking water if his demands are not effectively addressed by the state government.

“The government says they want time. They should tell us how much time it wants and also tell us what the problem is in giving reservation to the Maratha community…. They should tell what they are going to do in detail,” he said at the fast venue.

Also Read: ‘Will quit drinking water from this evening if…’, says activist Jarange

“The government should tell why it needs time and whether they are ready to give reservation to the entire Maratha community. Then Marathas will think about it,” the activist added.

Meanwhile, protests continued in parts of Maharashtra on November 1. In Pune, the labour unions and traders’ associations at Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) observed a bandh to mark their support for Patil. 

The Nashik district unit of the Sakal Maratha Samaj (SMS) passed a resolution to observe the upcoming festival of lights as “black Diwali”.

On the Latur-Solapur highway, traffic was disrupted as members of Maratha Kranti Morcha (MKM) – which has been leading the protests demanding Maratha reservation over the past few years – blocked the highway by setting tyres on fire.

Maharashtra Director General of Police Rajnish Seth said there was no major incident of violence reported in the state during the day. However, as many as 141 cases have been registered so far in connection with the violence related to the Maratha quota agitation in recent days, he added, further noting that 168 persons have been arrested.

Shinde seeks time

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who chaired an all-party meeting in Mumbai today, told reporters that Patil has been requested to end his fast and cooperate with the government, as more time is needed to work on the legal modalities for providing the reservation.

“The state government is making honest efforts so that the Maratha community gets reservation benefits. The backward class commission is working on a war footing. The reservation given by the government when Devendra Fadnavis was chief minister was upheld by the Bombay High Court but struck down by the Supreme Court on the grounds of some errors. We want to avoid a repetition of this situation,” news agency PTI quoted him as saying.

The chief minister added that currently, the government is working on two fronts – preparing an error-free report to be submitted before the Supreme Court as part of the curative petition, and issuing Kunbi caste certificates to Marathas from Marathwada.

Those who receive Kunbi caste certificates will be eligible for reservation under the Other Backward Classes (OBC). Patil, however, said on October 31 that his agitation would end only after all Marathas in the state are made eligible for reservation in education and government jobs.

(With PTI inputs)

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Updated: 01 Nov 2023, 11:24 PM IST

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