Jalna, 25th October 2023: The Maratha reservation movement has been reignited in Maharashtra as the leader of the movement, Manoj Jarange Patil, has declared his intention to go on a hunger strike. Jarange Patil, addressing the media, expressed his frustration with the Maharashtra government’s lack of a positive response to the Maratha reservation issue despite 40 days passing since assurances were made.
In his statement, Jarange Patil warned the government that he would continue his fast until death if the Maratha reservation was not granted. He questioned the government’s backtrack on its commitment and raised concerns about the delay in withdrawing cases lodged against Marathas during their protests in September.
Jarange Patil has been campaigning for the universal issuance of Kunbi caste certificates to all Marathas, thereby enabling them to qualify for reservations. The Kunbi caste considered a sub-category within the Maratha community, already enjoys reserved quotas in government jobs and educational opportunities as part of the Other Backward Class (OBC) classification.
In 2018, the state government originally extended a 16% reservation to meet the demand of the Maratha community, a decision prompted by widespread protests. Nonetheless, the Bombay High Court later revised the reservation, reducing it to 13% for employment and 12% for educational opportunities. This adjustment faced subsequent legal challenges and was ultimately nullified by the Supreme Court in 2021.
The police’s use of lathi charge during Patil’s hunger strike in Jalna on September 1 had further fueled the Maratha community’s push for OBC status. Subsequently, a committee led by retired judge Sandeep Shinde was established to investigate the intricacies of the reservation system. Maratha groups persist in their demand for reservations without any conditions, even as concerns are voiced by the Kunbi and other OBC groups.