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Chief Minister Eknath Shinde Appeals for Peace as Maratha Reservation Protester Ends Hunger Strike

Mumbai| September 14, 2023: In a significant development, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde of Maharashtra visited the hunger strike site of Maratha reservation protester Manoj Jarange in Jalna’s Antrawali-Sarati (Ambad) region. The visit, aimed at addressing the concerns of the Maratha community regarding reservations, saw a pivotal moment when Jarange announced the end of his hunger strike, symbolically taking a sip of syrup from the Chief Minister’s hands.

During his visit, Chief Minister Shinde expressed his genuine concern for Jarange Patil’s health and discussed the main issues driving the Maratha reservation protest. Shinde assured the protesters that the government was actively taking concrete steps to address most of their demands, including those related to Sarathi and the Annasaheb Economic Backward Development Corporation.

Shinde commended Jarange’s steadfast commitment to the cause of Maratha reservation and stressed the importance of pure and honest intentions in such movements. He noted the overwhelming support from the local community for Jarange’s cause and reiterated the government’s clear stance on the matter.

The Chief Minister reminded everyone that the government had previously granted a 16 percent reservation to the Maratha community, a decision that had been upheld by the High Court. However, it was later overturned by the Supreme Court. Shinde acknowledged that the reasons and circumstances behind this decision were well-known, both to Jarange and the protestors and had been discussed in detail during previous meetings.

The Chief Minister emphasized that the government’s unwavering stance was to secure Maratha reservation. Even after the Supreme Court’s cancellation, the government created surplus job positions and appointed approximately 3700 eligible candidates who had previously faced uncertainty due to the Supreme Court’s decision. Shinde underlined the government’s readiness to face future challenges in pursuit of the Maratha community’s rights.

Furthermore, Shinde highlighted that the government was committed to providing similar facilities to the Maratha community as those enjoyed by the OBC (Other Backward Classes) community. He mentioned an increase in funds for Sarathi Sansthan and the expansion of the share capital limit for Annasaheb Patil Economic Backward Development Corporation, aimed at benefiting both OBCs and the Maratha community.

Shinde also shared that the Shinde Committee was actively working to address the concerns of those from Marathwada who lacked proper documentation. The committee, operating within a constitutional framework and possessing judicial status, was evaluating the social and educational backwardness, living conditions, and occupations of the Maratha community.

Acknowledging the importance of expertise, Shinde suggested involving knowledgeable individuals in the committee’s work to ensure a comprehensive evaluation.

On a different note, Chief Minister Shinde expressed regret over the lathi attack incident in Interwali and termed it unfortunate. He mentioned that the Home Minister had personally apologized for the incident. Shinde praised the Maratha society for its discipline and sensitivity, as demonstrated during the numerous peaceful marches.

In response to the incident, those found guilty have been suspended, and immediate action has been initiated to withdraw cases related to the agitation.

Concluding his remarks, Chief Minister Shinde called for coordination with the Shinde Committee and reiterated the government’s commitment to securing lasting reservation for the Maratha community. He announced the appointment of a dedicated commission for this purpose, emphasizing that the government aimed to achieve Maratha reservation without compromising the rights of other communities.

In essence, the government’s stance is clear: the Maratha community deserves a reservation that endures, and they are determined to make it a reality while maintaining law and order and ensuring peace in the state.

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