Amid incidents of violence over the Maratha reservation issue in parts of Maharashtra, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Tuesday called activist Manoj Jarange over phone and assured a concrete decision on giving Kunbi certificates to the Maratha community during the state cabinet’s meeting to be held later in the day. Jarange has been on an indefinite hunger strike at his native Antarwali Sarati village in Jalna district since October 25 to demand reservation for the Maratha community. After a ”satisfactory” discussion with CM Shinde, Jarange started consuming water during his protest, a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said.
Maratha community members have been staging protests in different parts of the state seeking reservation in government jobs and education under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category. At some places, quota supporters vandalised and torched the residences of some politicians. A curfew has been imposed in Maharashtra’s Dharashiv district after incidents of violence. CM Shinde called up Jarange on Tuesday morning and enquired about his health, the CMO statement said.
CM Shinde assured Jarange that he would take a concrete decision regarding issuing Kunbi caste certificates to the Maratha community in the cabinet meeting to be held later in the day, it said. Sinde also informed Jarange that the state government was prepared to file a curative petition in the Supreme Court over the Maratha reservation issue. In May 2021, the Supreme Court had struck down Maharashtra’s Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act, 2018, which granted reservation to the Maratha community, for violating the 50 per cent quota limit. Jarange, the leader of the Maratha community, has been pressing for the issuance of Kunbi certificates to Marathas so that they may qualify for OBC status for reservations. Kunbis (the community associated with agriculture) are grouped under the OBC category in Maharashtra.