Maratha quota: Jarange continues fast for 3rd day, claims govt sidestepping core issue

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Maratha Reservation Maratha Quota

Jalna: Activist Manoj Jarange on Monday accused the Maharashtra government of diverting the core issue of Maratha reservation and claimed it was considering a separate quota for the community.

Jarange continued his indefinite fast at his native Antarwali Sarati village in Jalna district for the third day on Monday over his demand that a special session of the Maharashtra legislature be convened to convert the draft notification on “blood relatives” of Kunbi Marathas into a law.

In December last year, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said a special session of the state legislature will be held in February, if necessary, to provide reservation to the Maratha community after reviewing a report of the Backward Class Commission.

Notably, Maharashtra minister Chhagan Bhujbal has opposed the "backdoor entry" for Marathas in OBC quota.

Jarange on Monday reiterated his demand for the immediate implementation of the draft notification, which stated that “sage soyre” or blood relatives of a Maratha person with records to show he belongs to the Kunbi community would also be recognised as Kunbi, an agrarian community that enjoys OBC quota.

Responding to queries on the Maharashtra government's intention to convene a special session to extend reservation to Marathas, he accused the government of diverting the core issue of quota for the community.

Jarange said he is not against a separate quota for Marathas, but emphasised that the special session should focus on converting the draft notification on “blood relatives” of Kunbi Marathas into a legislation and release of Kunbi caste certificates to those whose documents have been verified.

Amid concerns over his health, the 40-year-old activist refused to allow doctors to check on his condition. He has been abstaining from food and water since Saturday.

An associate of Jarange claimed the activist's health has weakened as he is not taking food and medication.

This is the fourth time in less than a year that he has been observing a hunger strike demanding the inclusion of the Maratha community under the OBC (other backward caste) grouping.

Jarange on Saturday said, “The government should convene a special session of the state legislature in two days and bring a legislation concerning 'sage soyare' (blood relatives). The government must issue (OBC) caste certificates to 57 lakh people who possess Kunbi records."

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