Maratha quota stir simmers as talks with Shinde govt fail again

Manoj Jarange-Patil, a Maratha quota activist, has been on an indefinite hunger strike demanding that Marathas from the Marathwada region be extended reservation under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category by declaring them as Kunbis, a sub-caste. He is requesting that the government drop the requirement for Marathas to provide evidence of genealogy for obtaining Kunbi caste certificates. He is also demanding the strict implementation of a 2004 order of the state government that mandates the issuance of Kunbi certificates to Marathas.

Earlier in the week, the Maharashtra government issued an order stating that Kunbi caste certificates would be provided to Marathas from the central Maharashtra region who possess Nizam-era documents recognizing them as Kunbis. However, Jarange-Patil is not satisfied with this and is insisting on a blanket reservation for all Marathas as Kunbis or strict adherence to the 2004 order.

Jarange-Patil has also criticized the government for not fulfilling its promises regarding the withdrawal of cases against protesters from the Maratha community and taking strict action against police officers responsible for lathi-charge on agitators on September 1.

A delegation of five members from the Maratha community met with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and other officials to discuss the demands. Balasaheb Sarate-Patil, a member of the delegation, mentioned that the government has shown a positive attitude towards issuing Kunbi certificates to deserving community members and suggested that demanding blanket reservation for all Marathas may not be feasible or legal. However, they support Jarange’s demand that the government should not insist on Nizam-era documents and should accept later documents as evidence for OBC certificates.

The government mediator, Arjun Khotkar, stated that the government has conceded all the demands that were possible, and the process for the withdrawal of police cases has already started. However, he also mentioned that granting blanket reservation to the community may not be legally viable.

It appears that there is ongoing dialogue and negotiation between the Maratha community representatives and the government to resolve the issue and end the hunger strike

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