Apologies and Commitments: Maharashtra Leaders Respond to Maratha Reservation Protests

Mumbai, 4th September 2023: The Maharashtra government appears to be making efforts to address the concerns of the Maratha community amid ongoing protests. On one hand, Deputy Chief Minister of the state, Devendra Fadnavis, has issued an apology, while on the other, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has pledged to meet the protesters’ demands.

CM Shinde revealed that a high-level discussion on providing reservation to the Maratha community took place today.

He stated, “The government is taking this matter seriously. Ensuring reservation for the Maratha community is the government’s commitment.”

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde disclosed that a task force has been established to address this issue, with prominent advocates like Harish Salve playing a pivotal role. He emphasized the government’s extensive efforts in this regard. Regarding the unfortunate incident in Jalna, Shinde mentioned that despite 58 previous protests by the Maratha community, they had always maintained law and order.

Moreover, Chief Minister Shinde cautioned against politicizing the recent events and protests related to the Maratha community. He appealed to all parties involved to ensure peace in the state. He also noted that the Superintendent of Police (SP) has been transferred, and an officer has been suspended in connection with the Jalna incident, pending an investigation report.

Earlier, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis expressed regret on behalf of the state government regarding the police’s use of force during the protests. He clarified that such decisions, including the use of police force, were made at the local level and not directed by top officials. Fadnavis, who also holds the Home Department portfolio, acknowledged the government’s regret over the police’s actions in Jalna district a few days ago.

The recent incident in Jalna unfolded when authorities attempted to admit a hunger-striking protester to the hospital, in demand of Maratha reservation. The protesters opposed this move, leading to violence. To disperse the crowd, the police resorted to lathi charges and fired teargas shells.

The unrest resulted in injuries to several individuals, including 40 policemen, and the torching of more than 15 state transport buses.

Deputy CM Fadnavis acknowledged the inappropriateness of the police’s lathi charge and issued an apology on behalf of the Maharashtra government.