Maratha quota stir enters fourth day

ST Correspondent
Saturday, 28 July 2018

In Nanded, Maratha activists clashed with the police personnel. 
A rasta roko took place on the Marathwada-Vidarbha border regions. In Hingoli, a truck was set aflame. 

Pune: The Maratha stir in the State continues in its fourth day, though in pockets of rural Maharashtra. Ministers have finally met with the State backward class commission on Friday. The Maratha community has been protesting demanding reservations with the immediate goal of forcing the government to take back its Mega Recruitment drive until the reservations are finalised.

The Maratha community, which is primarily agrarian, has been demanding reservations for almost two decades under the OBC category, since the implementation of the Mandal commission. While the reservations remain elusive, the State government’s announcement to fill up 72,000 vacancies in a mega recruitment drive, pushed the community over the edge.

Now, the stir has been concentrated mostly in the rural pockets. In Nanded, Maratha activists clashed with the police 
personnel. A rasta roko took place on the Marathwada-Vidarbha border regions and the police detained activists attempting to partially drown themselves in the river at Raher. In Hingoli, a truck was set on fire and MLA Ramrao Wadkute of the NCP was manhandled. In Sengaon, an attempt was made to set the Block Development Office on fire.

In Parbhani, a vehicle was set afire by unknown persons and a sit-in was organised at Pathri. In Aurangabad, a sit-in, which had gone on for days, was taken back and in some places, a mass head shaving protest took place. In Jalna and Beed, many places saw a rasta roko protest with students and youth participation on a large scale. In Majalgaon and Beed, students of Standard 10 continued their sit-in demanding that the charges filed against protesters be taken back.

Amid reports of these disturbances from all over the State, the Minister for Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation, and Public Works, Chandrakant Patil, along with ministers Vinod Tawde, Sadabhau Khot and others, met with the chairman of the State Backward Class Commission, retired justice MG Gaikwad and submitted an affidavit on behalf of the State government regarding the Maratha reservations. Backward class commission will verify the social backward status of the Maratha community, which is the primary criteria for availing reservations.

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