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Disgruntled Jarange-Patil announces fresh round of protests from Feb 24

Feb 22, 2024 07:34 AM IST

The Maratha activist, who has been on a fast from February 10, held a meeting with other Maratha quota activists and then announced the fresh protest

MUMBAI: Despite the state legislature passing a bill on Tuesday to give 10 percent quota to the Maratha community, Manoj Jarange-Patil remained disgruntled and on Wednesday announced a fresh round of statewide protests beginning February 24. The reservation activist, who is doubtful about the bill standing up to legal scrutiny, wants the government to implement the promises it made to him about including Marathas in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category.

Thane, India - November,21, 2023: Community of Maratha leader Manoj Jarange Patil is seen interacting with maratha community in a meeting at Gadkari Hall in Thane to demand Maratha reservation ,in Thane, in Mumbai, India, on, Tuesday, November ,21, 2023. ( Praful Gangurde / HT Photo )

From February 24 onwards, Maratha community members will hold daily rasta rokos (road blockades) across the state from 10.30 am to 1 pm and 4 pm to 7 pm. Jarange-Patil has appealed to the community to not allow campaigning for the Lok Sabha election in its villages if the government does not accept its demand in two days and to ignore politicians altogether. He has also asked them not to resort to violence while staging the agitations.

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The Maratha activist, who has been on a fast from February 10, held a meeting with other Maratha quota activists and then announced the fresh protest. He has been demanding immediate implementation of a government notification that proposes to give OBC quota benefits to relatives (by blood and by same-caste marriage) of Marathas who already have Kunbi caste certificates. Kunbi, a peasant sub-caste of the Maratha community, falls under the OBC category.

Jarange-Patil has been demanding that all Marathas who have Kunbi antecedents be given Kunbi caste certificates so that they will be eligible for reservation in government jobs and education. Existing beneficiaries in the OBC category are opposing this demand since it will reduce their share in the 19 percent reservation for OBCs.

Former associate levels allegations against activist

Ajay Maharaj Baraskar, a kirtankar (religious preacher) and former associate of Jarange-Patil, on Wednesday accused the latter of not being transparent in his talks with the government and changing his stance frequently. Addressing a press conference, he made several allegations against the Maratha quota activist.

“Jarange-Patil had a secret meeting with a senior government officer on December 23 at Hotel Kanhaiya in Beed district,” he said. “I was witness to the meeting, which the officer has also recorded. Jarange-Patil said one thing at the meeting and something quite different publicly.” Baraskar added that Jarange-Patil had also held such meetings at Pune, Lonavala and Vashi later.

The preacher also accused Jarange-Patil of abusing government officers who met him for the benefit of television cameras. “He does all this only to get TRPs,” he alleged.

Jarange-Patil retorted that Baraskar was a “government stooge”. “I know who is behind him,” he said, warning the government to stop “sending traps” to him if it did not want to incur the wrath of the Maratha community.

Sources said that Baraskar worked for the Prahar Janshakti party and had been expelled after his statements.

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