Jalna, Oct 28 (PTI) Activist Manoj Jarange, who is observing an indefinite fast for the Maratha quota demand, on Saturday said a series of hunger strikes will begin in every village in Maharashtra from October 29 if the government fails to grant the reservation immediately.
Jarange also said the government would be responsible if any harm befalls protesters sitting on fast during the protest.
Addressing the media in Antarwali Sarati village in Jalna district, Jarange announced that the second phase of the reservation movement had begun and the third phase would start on October 31.
On the fourth day of his hunger strike, 40-year-old Jarange refused to be examined by doctors after Jalna district collector Shri Krishna Panchal and superintendent of police Shailesh Balkawade met him to enquire about his health.
"Starting October 29, a relentless series of hunger strikes, fast-unto-death, will be launched in every village in Maharashtra. The government must take this movement seriously and should not underestimate the determination of agitating Marathas," he said.
Jarange launched the second phase of his hunger strike on October 25, a day after an "ultimatum" given him to the state government to announce the quota for Marathas in jobs and education under the OBC category ended.
He had observed a fast for 14 days in the same village from August 29 to September 14 before withdrawing it on the assurance given by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
Jarange said the third phase of the agitation will begin on October 31 and details will be disclosed on October 30.
He reiterated that political leaders, from ruling parties as well as opposition, should not be allowed to enter villages.
"The problems being faced by our children are far more significant than my physical suffering," he added.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis had stated that the state government was committed to granting reservations to the Maratha community that will stand legal scrutiny, without diluting quotas of other communities.
However, Jarange had accused the government of dragging its feet on the quota commitment.
He accused the government of inciting certain individuals against the Maratha community over its "rightful demand", and claimed that the chief minister was being pressured by someone to deny reservation to Marathas.
Addressing the annual Dussehra rally of Shiv Sena in Mumbai on October 24, CM Shinde took a pledge in front of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's bust to grant reservations to Marathas which will be legally sustainable. PTI COR NSK