Reservation protests should be peaceful

Megha V Choudhary
Saturday, 4 August 2018

Previous Maratha morchas have been peaceful, but now, some anti-social elements are seen taking advantage of the situation and instigating violence

Today, certain politicians and their parties are seen trying to get a political mileage out of the reservation issue. They are using the issue for political gains in an election year and perhaps misguiding youths and exploiting them for their vested interests. Political parties are now in a free-for-all to grab votes on this issue. The question is where will all this lead to?

Previous Maratha morchas have been peaceful, but now, some anti-social elements are seen taking advantage of the situation and instigating violence. Arson, damaging public and private property, vandalising vehicles and attacking the common public are quite common. 

Despite organisers assuring a peaceful protest, the common public has to bear the brunt of such agitations. On July 30, when the Maratha Morcha called for a stir in Pune, no one imagined it would turn out to be violent. Office goers found it difficult to find transport and were stuck on the roads due to the agitation. State Transport and PMPML buses were torched. Parents were reluctant to send their children to schools, even a couple of days after the bandh. To press for their demands, some Maratha youths ended their lives in different parts of the State.

Before elections, parties make promises to appease voters and later, they realise that the promises can’t be fulfilled and this angers the particular community. In 2014, the UPA government promised Marathas 16 per cent reservation, a move which was struck down by the Bombay High Court. After this, the BJP govt introduced a bill to grant the quota and challenged the High Court order in the Supreme Court. 

The case is pending in the High Court. Now, the State Backward Class Commission is preparing a comprehensive report on economic backwardness of the community. The High Court has ordered the commission to submit its report by August 14 and then the matter will be discussed further on the basis of the report. 

Recently, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Chief Raj Thackeray said that reservations should be based purely on the economic status of the people and not on the basis of caste and Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray also repeated the demand but how many other politicians have spoken up  about such a solution or any other solution to the reservation issue?

It seems every political party wants to get maximum mileage out of the reservation issue. The opposition is saying the government should pay heed to the demands of Maratha morcha organisers. Gradually, the focus of Marathas shifted to reservation followed by countless rallies across the State giving sleepless nights to the ruling government and a chance to the opposition to criticise the State on its lackadaisical 
approach in handling the issue. 

It is up to the government how it handles the reservation demand whether it is of Maratha or Dhangar or any other community. India is surely going to lose every time any community resorts to violence 
demanding reservation.  

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