Updated February 26th, 2024 at 17:49 IST

Maratha Quota Activist Manoj Jarange Announces End of Indefinite Fast After 17 Days

While announcing an end to his fast, Jarange said that his agitation would continue until the state government meets the quota demands of the Maratha community.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange has ended his latest hunger strike. | Image:PTI
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MUMBAI: Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange, on Monday, announced that he would be bringing his indefinite fast to an end 17 days after it was undertaken. His decision to do so came a day after he had announced a march to Mumbai to press for his demands related to quota in jobs and education for the Maratha community and coincided with the start of the budget session of the state legislature in Mumbai.

Last week, both houses of Maratha's state legislature unanimously passed a bill which would provide 10 per cent reservation for the Maratha community in education and government jobs. At the time, Jarange, who had been sitting on an indefinite hunger strike since February 10, insisted on quota for the Marathas under the OBC category and said that his fast would continue. 

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On Monday, as brought his strike to an end, he emphasised that his agitation would not come to an end until the state government issues Kunbi caste certificates to extended family members of people already having such documents. 

"Although I am suspending my agitation (hunger strike) today, there will be three to four youths who will sit here and fast every day for our demands. I will also visit some villages and explain my stand to them. They could not come to meet me here (at Antarwali Sarati village) because of restrictions imposed by the home department," he said.

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Asked about several police complaints filed against him over the quota stir, the activist appeared unfazed.

"If they want to prosecute me, I have no issues, but (by doing so) they will invite trouble. People would get angry, and the CM and the home minister would face consequences. It is their call now," he said.

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Chief Minister Shinde issues a warning

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Sunday evening warned the Maratha quota activist, asking him not to test the patience of the state government after Jarange levelled certain allegations against deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, who also holds the home portfolio.

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Jarange had also made some references to the caste of BJP leader Fadnavis, a Brahmin.

The activist had earlier said the Maratha quota bill may not stand legal scrutiny.

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In the wake of Jarange's fast, the government recently issued a draft notification which said if a Maratha person has documentary proof to show that he or she belongs to the agrarian Kunbi community, the person’s ‘sage soyre’ or blood relatives, too, would get Kunbi caste certificates.

The Kunbi community falls in the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) category, and Jarange has been demanding that Kunbi certificates be issued to all Marathas, thus making them eligible for quota benefits.

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Maharashtra Congress Chief calls for transparency

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole has called for greater transparency in regard to the discussions between CM Eknath Shinde and Manoj Jarange. Patole was quoted in media reports as saying “CM should tell about the talks that have happened between him and Manoj Jarange Patil. We are not going to ask Jarange about his talks with the CM. Instead, the CM should put this in the house (Legislative Assembly). That will answer so many things but the CM is hiding it.” 

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With inputs from PTI. 

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Published February 26th, 2024 at 17:22 IST