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Maratha Reservation Protest Intensifies: Thane to Witness Bandh on September 11

Maharashtra | September 11, 2023: The Maratha reservation issue continues to dominate headlines in Maharashtra, with protesters steadfast in their demand for reservation benefits. The situation escalated recently with violence erupting in Jalna district, leading to injuries to many of people, including 40 policemen, and the torching of over 15 government buses. The Maratha community is resolute, stating they will persist in their agitation until their demand for reservation is met.

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has been actively engaged in addressing the concerns of the Maratha community. He acknowledged the gravity of the situation and emphasized the government’s commitment to resolving this issue systematically. Speaking about a high-level meeting held to discuss Maratha reservation, Shinde stated that the government is earnestly working in this direction. He reiterated the government’s belief that the Maratha community deserves reservation and stressed the importance of dialogue to achieve a resolution.

Shinde also announced that Minister of State Girish Mahajan and other ministers would engage in discussions to find a viable solution to the ongoing crisis. He emphasized that dialogue is the key to resolving the matter effectively.

The violence and the subsequent questions raised about police conduct during peaceful protests have further fueled the agitation. Many protesters have questioned why the police resorted to aerial firing and lathi charges during a demonstration that was initially non-violent.

In response to the escalating situation, a Maratha organization, supported by the Sakal Maratha Morcha and the Sambhaji Brigade, has called for a Thane bandh on September 11. The bandh has received backing from local leaders of opposition parties in the state, including the Nationalist Congress Party (Sharad Pawar faction), Shiv Sena (UBT), Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), Maratha Kranti Morcha, and the Congress. These leaders have appealed to the people of Thane to participate in the bandh.

It is crucial to note that the Maratha community was granted reservation benefits in Maharashtra government jobs and educational institutions in 2018 during the tenure of then-Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. However, in May 2021, the Supreme Court invalidated this reservation, citing reasons including the total reservation limit exceeding 50 percent.

Despite this setback, the Maratha community remains determined to secure their reservation rights. Speaking from the protest site in Antarwali Sarathi village, the agitators stressed that they would not back down until their demands are met. They expressed frustration over the delay in the committee’s report regarding Maratha reservation, formed by the state’s Chief Minister.

As Thane braces for the bandh on September 11, all eyes are on the government’s response and its commitment to resolving the longstanding issue of Maratha reservation through peaceful dialogue.

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