Dy CM Fadnavis Apologises for Lathicharge on Maratha Quota Protestors, Govt Sets up Committee

The announcement came in the wake of protests in Aurangabad’s Jalna that began last week and turned violent on Friday.

New Delhi: Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde on Monday (September 4) said that a committee will submit its report within a month on how to issue Kunbi caste certificates to Marathas from Marathwada region, the Hindu reported.

Kunbis are an agriculture practicing community currently grouped under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category in Maharashtra.

“A committee was set up and asked to submit a report within a month on how to issue Kunbi certificates to the Maratha community from Marathwada. The state government has taken this issue seriously and we are working to find an amicable solution,” Shinde was quoted by the Hindu as saying.

The announcement comes in the wake of protests in Aurangabad’s Jalna that began last week and turned violent on Friday (September 1), leaving 40 police personnel and some civilians injured, the Hindustan Times reported.

The community has been demanding reservation in education and government jobs, with a sit-in hunger strike led by activist Manoj Jarange in Jalna’s Antarwali Sarathi village since Tuesday (August 29). Violence broke out when the police tried to shift Jarange to a hospital on Friday.

Some persons targeted state transport buses and private vehicles, police said. Subsequently, the police used lathis and fired tear gas shells to disperse a mob in the village, the report said. More than 15 state buses were set ablaze, the Hindustan Times reported.

“Lathi-charge by police was not right… I am apologising on behalf of the government. The chief minister has said that action will be taken against those who are responsible for it,” deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis was quoted by the Hindustan Times as saying.

Fadnavis said that the Maharashtra government regrets the use of force by police in Jalna district a few days back, PTI reported.

Reservation in jobs and education provided by the earlier government to the Maratha community was quashed by the Supreme Court in May 2021, citing the 50% ceiling on total reservations among other grounds.

“I have directed officials to study the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Maratha quota and recommend solutions. We need to establish that the Maratha community is backward,” Shinde said.

However, Jarange told reporters that he would not call off the protest unless a government order is issued granting reservation in education and jobs to the Maratha community.