Jarange-Patil calls off march after Shinde govt gives in to his demands | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Jarange-Patil calls off march after Shinde govt gives in to his demands

Jan 28, 2024 07:36 AM IST

“Our demand was issuance of Kunbi certificates to the blood relatives of Maratha community members having Kunbi antecedents. An ordinance (draft notification) to this effect has been issued,” he said at a press conference in Navi Mumbai’s Vashi, while showing a copy of the draft notification

Mumbai: After deliberations between the state government and the Maratha community representatives that took up most of Friday night, a belligerent Manoj Jarange-Patil declared to withdraw his march to Mumbai on Saturday morning. The reservation activist, however, warned he would hold a protest in the city if the draft notification issued by the social justice department as a goodwill gesture failed to pass legal scrutiny.

Navi Mumbai, India - Jan. 27, 2024:Maratha Quota activist Manoj Jarange Patil ends protest after Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde Government accepts all demands at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Chowk Vashi, in Navi Mumbai, India, on Saturday, January 27, 2024. (Photo by Bachchan Kumar/ HT PHOTO) (HT PHOTO)
Navi Mumbai, India - Jan. 27, 2024:Maratha Quota activist Manoj Jarange Patil ends protest after Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde Government accepts all demands at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Chowk Vashi, in Navi Mumbai, India, on Saturday, January 27, 2024. (Photo by Bachchan Kumar/ HT PHOTO) (HT PHOTO)

“Our demand was issuance of Kunbi certificates to the blood relatives of Maratha community members having Kunbi antecedents. An ordinance (draft notification) to this effect has been issued,” he said at a press conference in Navi Mumbai’s Vashi, while showing a copy of the draft notification.

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Jarange-Patil has been demanding reservation for the Maratha community though a caste certificate as Kunbi, a sub-caste of Marathas that gets reservation in government jobs and education under the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) quota.

On January 20, he began a march from Antarwali Sarathi in Jalna and was supposed to begin an indefinite hunger strike at Azad Maidan in Mumbai from January 26. However, after reaching Vashi on the night of January 25, he decided to give the state government a day to consider his demands and issue an order.

This tactic did the trick. Shinde, armed with a copy of the draft notification, rushed to Vashi to break Jarange-Patil’s fast on Saturday morning.

The activist hailed the development as a “victory”.

“I have said I will go to Mumbai but for us this is also Mumbai. We will now have to organise a victory rally, bigger than the one held at Antarwali Sarathi last year, for which a place and date will be declared soon.”

The CM invoked his farmer’s lineage during his address to the protesters.

“I am also a son of a farmer. I know their problems and sufferings. This is the reason I took an oath in the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to give reservation to Marathas and that was fulfilled today. I do what I say,” he said and thanked the activist and the Marathas for holding a peaceful march at Mumbai’s doorstep.

Terming it a historic moment, the CM said, “We make decisions in the interest of the people and not eyeing their votes.”

Shinde, who also belongs to the Maratha community, used this opportunity to take a jibe at other Maratha leaders. “The Maratha community made many leaders big, but they did not stand by the community when it needed them the most.”

Shortly after Jarange-Patil’s announcement, celebrations broke out among thousands of supporters, who were part of the activist’s entourage from Antarwali Sarathi and had been camping in Vashi for the last 36 hours.

The demands accepted by the state, as per the draft notification, include giving Kunbi certificates to all 57 lakh Marathas with Kunbi antecedents so that they can get reservation benefits under the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) category and reservation to their blood relatives and those relatives formed out of marriages within the same caste, based on affidavits filed by those having Kunbi antecedents.

“...upon submitting an affidavit by the applicant establishing the relations with his blood relatives i.e. uncle, nephew and other members of his family as well as patriarchal relatives who have found Kunbi records being the applicant’s sage-soyare (paternal relatives formed out of marriages) and after verifying such Kunbi certificates of blood relatives and sage-soyare by conducting field enquiry and verification, Kunbi caste certificate shall be issued immediately,” the notification said.

The notification, which was also studied by senior lawyers representing the Maratha community, was issued to make changes to the Maharashtra Scheduled Castes, De-notified Tribes (Vimukta Jatis), Nomadic Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Special Backward Category (Regulation of Issuance and Verification of) Caste Certificate Rules, 2012. The social justice department has sought suggestions and objections from the people on the changes till February 16 and after studying them a final notification will be issued.

It means changes can be implemented only after the final notification is issued, said a senior official from the social justice department.

Previously, Jarange-Patil was insisting on giving reservation benefits to the maternal blood relatives as well, which found no mention in the draft. “Blood relation is being considered from the paternal side of a family and not the maternal side. There is also a Supreme Court ruling in this regard,” rural development minister Girish Mahajan had said after holding talks with the Maratha activist on December 21.

On the occasion, Shinde also assured the protesters that the government would withdraw the cases filed against Maratha youths during several agitations held so far and allow the (retired justice) Sandeep Shinde committee to continue to work for a year. Jarange-Patil claimed the government had also agreed to provide free education to Maratha students from KG (kindergarten) to PG (post graduation).

No minister from the Ajit Pawar faction of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) was present while two ministers from BJP - Mahajan and Mangal Prabhat Lodha - accompanied Shinde.

Reacting to the development, NCP (Ajit Pawar faction) minister and OBC leader Chhagan Bhujbal said the decision to give reservation to blood relatives based on an affidavit would not stand the legal scrutiny.

“The provision to issue Kunbi certificates to the blood relatives having Kunbi antecedents will not stand in the court of law. How come caste certificates be issued based on affidavits? It is against the law; if this law applies to all the communities, then what would happen,” Bhujbal said and added they would move court if the government went ahead with issuing the final notification.

OBC outfits have called a meeting on Sunday to decide their next course of action.

Deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who holds the home portfolio, welcomed the government’s decision on withdrawal of cases against Maratha protesters. “However, the cases related to serious offenses such as torching houses, attacking police personnel and damaging public property would not be considered.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Faisal is with the political team and covers state administration and state politics. He also covers NCP.

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