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Maratha Reservation: Maratha Organization Calls for Bandh in Protest Against Police Lathicharge

In a response to the recent police lathicharge on protesters demanding reservation in Maharashtra, a Maratha organization has announced a bandh scheduled for September 11. The bandh, backed by the Sambhaji Brigade and supported by the Sakal Maratha Morcha, has gained the endorsement of local leaders from opposition parties within the state.

At a meeting held on Saturday, key figures from various opposition parties rallied behind the bandh, urging the people of Thane to participate in the protest. The meeting saw the participation of leaders from the Nationalist Congress Party (Sharad Pawar faction), Shiv Sena (UBT), Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), Maratha Kranti Morcha, and the Congress. Their collective support underscores the significance of the protest.

The agitation demanding reservation for the Maratha community took a violent turn earlier this month in the Antarwali Sarati village of Jalna district. The clashes resulted in numerous injuries, including over 40 policemen. More than 15 state transport buses were set ablaze during the unrest, prompting the police to resort to lathicharge and tear gas to disperse the crowd. Shockingly, the mob obstructed authorities from transporting a hunger-striking individual, demanding reservation, to the hospital.

Former Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh has voiced disagreement with demands to take action against the policemen involved in the lathi charge. Instead, he emphasized that those responsible for ordering the use of force should be held accountable. Manoj Jarange has been on a 12-day hunger strike, pressing for reservation for the Maratha community in government jobs and educational institutions.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national secretary Pankaja Munde emphasized the need for concrete action, not just assurances, to address the reservation issue faced by the Maratha community. She called upon the Maharashtra government to engage in productive discussions with the protesters to break the ongoing deadlock on this matter.

Munde urged the government to approach the issue with confidence and courage, expressing that discussions could lead to a resolution regarding Maratha reservation. However, if the government wishes to maintain the 50 percent reservation limit, a substantial decision at the national level may be required, considering similar challenges faced by the central government in multiple states. The situation highlights the complex nature of reservation policies in India and the need for proactive steps to address the concerns of marginalized communities.

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