Maharashtra chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is facing the heat over the Maratha quota issue. The embattled Fadnavis however reiterated his government’s stand on granting quota for the Maratha community and said that only his government can give quota that can stand the scrutiny of the court
This assurance comes even as the maratha stir continued across the state. So far six people have committed suicide in the state due to the ongoing agitation.
A 35-year-old farm labourer was found hanging by a tree near his house in Beed district. Also , eight demonstrators tried to set themselves on fire in Latur district, but police foiled their attempt.
“Only we can give lasting quota. It was our government that brought the Maratha quota bill and got the legislation passed. Though the court has given a stay, we shall take the issue to its logical end,” Fadnavis said while speaking at a book release function.
Meanwhile , the maratha activists held a ‘Jail Bharo’ protest , demanding immediate implementation of reservations in jobs and education for the community.
Pro-quota groups led by the Maratha Kranti Morcha organised the ‘Jail Bharo’ agitation at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai while local groups in some parts of the state also held similar protests.
Rail and road traffic in the city wasn’t affected by the Maratha community protest , an official said in Mumbai.
Adequate security arrangements have been made in the state in view of the ongoing protests, police said.
“We have lost confidence in Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his hollow assurances of offering reservation to Maratha community,” said Kedar Shinde, a protester at Azad Maidan.
A group of Maratha community members also staged an agitation outside the residence of state labour minister Sambhaji Patil-Nilangekar in Latur district.
Protesters blocked a portion of the Pune-Solapur National Highway in north Solapur, police said. Protests were also held at Junnar in Pune district. Rallies were held in Shirur and Khed tehsils in Pune district.
Farmers from Hingoli district in Marathwada region, the hub of most of the aggressive protests, organised a bullock-cart march to demand quota for the community.
It may be recalled that the Maratha community is around 30 percent of the states 12 crore population. Since the last 10 days, their protests have turned violent.
Their demands include 50 percent reservation in jobs and education, implementation of the capital punishment given to accused in the Kopardi rape case and amending the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act to prevent its misuse.