Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange Patil has concluded his nine-day-long indefinite fast after a delegation from the Maharashtra government held discussions with him at Antarwali Sarate. Jarange Patil has granted the state government an additional two months to resolve the Maratha reservation issue, setting a deadline of January 2, 2024.
The government delegation, comprising Agriculture Minister Dhananjay Munde, Industries Minister Uday Samant, Housing Minister Atul Save, and independent MLA Bachchu Kadu, engaged in talks with Jarange Patil for over two hours before he announced the end of his fast.
Jarange Patil stated, “Take time but provide the reservation. This is the last time that I am giving you some more time. Take two months, otherwise Marathas will stop Mumbai.”
Although some Maratha activists present at the venue wanted Jarange Patil to continue his fast, he calmed them down by stating that the community would grant more time if the government ensured reservation.
“The committee formed by the government should take some more time but work on ensuring that all Marathas get reservation. The government has admitted that their committee will work across the state and submit a report. The government is ready to give certificates to the Kunbi Marathas of Marathwada, but we want the Marathas from the entire state to get reservation. That’s why I have decided that the government should give some more time,” Jarange Patil added.
Prior to the state government delegation’s visit, former head of the Maharashtra Backward Caste Commission, Justice (retired) MJ Gaikwad, and Justice Sunil Shukre, members of the government committee on Maratha reservation, met with Manoj Jarange Patil at Antarwali Sarate. They explained the challenges in immediately granting reservation to the Maratha community and emphasized that the community would certainly receive reservation as their committee is addressing the shortcomings identified by the court, but the process will take time. Independent MLA Bachchu Kadu, who facilitated the meeting, was also present.
Jarange Patil outlined the community’s five demands, including Kunbi caste certificates for all Marathas, multiple institutions for necessary surveys for Maratha reservation, adequate human resources for the surveys, no delays in the surveys, and Marathas receiving reservation when other castes do.
In response to Jarange Patil’s demands, the judges emphasized that a hasty move on reservation would not withstand legal scrutiny. They stated that decisions on issues like reservation cannot be made hastily, and efforts are being made to provide the Maratha community with a lasting reservation. The judges explained that robust data is being collected to ensure the decision on reservation withstands court scrutiny. They also noted that the court has not confirmed the Maratha community as backward, and a new commission is being established. The judges assured that if the process is handled patiently, the court will likely rule in favor of the community.
The judges also documented Jarange Patil’s suggestions to be handed over to the committee responsible for devising a methodology for issuing Kunbi caste certificates to Marathas.