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Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Expresses Regret Over Police Actions During Maratha Reservation Protests

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On Monday, Maharashtra’s Deputy Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis, expressed remorse for the police’s use of force during the protests demanding Maratha reservation in Jalna’s Antarwali Sarathi. Following a meeting with the Chief Minister, Fadnavis addressed reporters, stating, “The police lathicharge was inappropriate, and I apologize on behalf of the government. The CM has assured that action will be taken against those responsible.”

He also clarified that no senior official had issued a directive for the lathi-charge by the Jalna Police last week, emphasizing that such decisions, including the use of police force, are made at the local level.

Fadnavis said, “The Maharashtra government regrets the use of force by the police in Jalna district a few days ago.” Regarding his meeting with CM Shinde, he added, “Today, we conducted a high-level meeting on the Maratha reservation issue. I have already engaged with protesters, and we will address this matter in a systematic manner. Our government is committed to resolving Maratha reservation-related concerns.”

Earlier in the day, Sanjay Raut, a Shiv Sena (UBT) leader, claimed that the instruction for the lathi-charge had originated from a telephone conversation involving the Chief Minister and the State Home Minister’s offices.

Additionally, senior NCP leader Anil Deshmukh alleged that the police had conducted the lathi-charge in Jalna district based on a phone call from the Maharashtra home ministry.

The former State Home Minister insisted on an investigation conducted by a retired judge to determine the identity of the person who instructed the Jalna district superintendent of police to carry out the lathi-charge on the protesters.

In Antarwali Sarathi village, Jalna district, on Friday, law enforcement resorted to baton charges and deployed tear gas canisters to disperse a tumultuous crowd. This action was taken after demonstrators reportedly obstructed authorities from transferring a hunger-striking individual advocating for Maratha quota to a hospital.

During the unrest, numerous individuals sustained injuries, including 40 police officers, and more than 15 state transport buses were set on fire.


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