OBC outfits stages a show of strength, leaders warn of confrontation if Marathas are included in their quota
Bhujbal, who has been at the forefront in opposing the demands of Jarange-Patil to provide reservation from the OBC quota, slammed his own government for wrongfully issuing thousands of Kunbi certificates to please the Maratha community
Mumbai: The Other Backward Classes (OBC) outfits staged a massive show of strength on Friday which is seen as a threat of a direct confrontation between Marathas and OBCs over the issue of reservation. Leaders from the OBC community from all parties and outfits warned that there would be reaction if the state government touched their quota for Marathas.
Senior NCP (Ajit Pawar faction) minister Chhagan Bhujbal slammed the government for wrongfully issuing Kunbi certificates to please the Maratha community. He asked the state government and police to take action against those, who have declared to ban entry to politicians in their villages over Maratha reservation, and came down heavily on Maratha reservation activist Manoj Jarange-Patil for his “unjust” stand.
The OBC rally was organised at Ambad in Jalna which is only 22-km away from the site where Jarange-Patil was sitting on indefinite hunger strike to press for his demand for reservation from the OBC community. The OBC leaders also declared to start a series of such rallies that would be held across the state to raise their concerns as the government is behaving as “helpless”.
Bhujbal, who has been at the forefront in opposing the demands of Jarange-Patil to provide reservation from the OBC quota, slammed his own government for wrongfully issuing thousands of Kunbi certificates to please the Maratha community. He explained why they need to oppose the move saying that based on these certificates Marathas along with their families and relatives will become Kunbis and ultimately get benefits of OBC reservation.
“In the beginning they said 5,000 documents have been recovered based on which Kunbi certificates will be issued. Within days the number rose to more than 15,000. How? School principals have been asked to write Kunbi on their certificates. In cases where they refuse to do it, collectors are doing it to avoid clashes,” he said, making a serious allegation.
Bhujbal was fierce in his address where he asked the community to respond to Marathas. “I want to tell you all to respond to them in their own language… do not step back, do not fear,” he roared.
Reiterating that he is not opposed to Maratha reservation, the prominent OBC leader stressed they should try to get it by following the way laid down in the constitution and not by bullying and issuing threats. He alleged that the police lathicharge on Marathas protestors in Jalna only after stone pelting in which 70 policemen including female staff were injured. “Are you not ashamed of throwing stones on women (constables)?,” Bhujbal questioned the Maratha community.
He also reckoned the violent attacks by Maratha groups in Beed during which offices, homes, an education institution and a hotel were torched. “Did Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ask you to burn mothers and daughters alive? When will all this be investigated? We are in pain because of this.”
He further asked the state government to take action against those declared to ban entry of politicians in villages of the state stressing that they are living in a democracy and high-handedness of anyone should not be tolerated. “The entry of politicians has been banned in villages, has Maharashtra been transferred as your property?,” he remarked.
Bhujbal also asked the BJP leadership to intervene as 60% OBCs voted for them. “What will these 60% OBC do if they see that their quota has been finished before your eyes,” he said, cautioning the ruling party.
Leader of opposition Vijay Wadettiwar, who was also present at the gathering said that no one would dare to touch OBC reservation after this rally. “For us priority is our community and not positions. Positions come and go but we want to live with you all.”
Demanding a caste based census, he also asked other OBC leaders to reach out to the prime minister for the same. “Conduct the caste census and let people know the population ratio of the communities, and be prepared to provide reservation to the communities in that proportion,” Wadettiwar said, demanding a caste based census.
In response, Jarange-Patil accused the OBC leaders of inciting sentiments of the community. He said, “They want to disturb the peace of Maharashtra and thus are trying to incite sentiments of the community. The state government should check on their actions.”
Jarange-Patil, who has been demanding Maratha reservation from the existing OBC quota, also insisted that they will not stop now. “We are not going to stop. We will not be scared. All this is going on at the behest of the government,” he alleged.
The Maratha activist is currently on a statewide tour to mobilise the community for reservation demand as the state government promised to fulfil his demand by December 24.
Deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis tried to diffuse the situation. He said that there is no need to bring two communities against each other. “The chief minister has vowed to provide reservation to the Maratha community. I assure the OBC community that while doing so injustice will not be made with any other community. A picture of two communities coming against each other should be painted,” he urged.