Pro-Quota Activist Jarange-Patil Pushes for ST Quota for Dhangar Community; Chhagan Bhujbal Opposes Maratha Reservation, Calls for Caste Census

The activist recently concluded a six-day indefinite fast for Maratha reservations, setting a one-month deadline for the Maharashtra government to address community demands. These demands include the implementation of a draft notification recognizing Kunbis as ‘sage soyare’ (blood relatives) of Maratha community members and legal provisions for identifying Kunbis as Marathas.
Pro-Quota Activist Jarange-Patil Pushes for ST Quota for Dhangar Community; Chhagan Bhujbal Opposes Maratha Reservation, Calls for Caste Census
Lok Satta

Mumbai: Manoj Jarange-Patil, a pro-Maratha quota activist, has urged OBC leaders to redirect their attention towards securing Scheduled Tribe (ST) reservations for the Dhangar community, instead of criticizing the demands for Maratha quotas.

Jarange-Patil stressed unity among communities pursuing their respective quotas while speaking from a private hospital in Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar (formerly Aurangabad), where he is currently receiving treatment.

“The OBC leaders are not our adversaries,” asserted Jarange-Patil. “Rather than investing their energy in criticism of the Maratha quota, they should advocate for the inclusion of the Dhangar community under the ST (Scheduled Tribe) category. The Maratha community stands in solidarity with this cause.”

Jarange-Patil recently concluded a six-day indefinite fast for Maratha reservations, setting a one-month deadline for the Maharashtra government to address community demands. These demands include the implementation of a draft notification recognizing Kunbis as ‘sage soyare’ (blood relatives) of Maratha community members and legal provisions for identifying Kunbis as Marathas.

Meanwhile, in Jalna, two OBC activists, Laxman Hake and Navnath Waghmare, continue their hunger strike, demanding assurances that Maratha reservations will not encroach upon OBC quotas. Despite a government delegation's plea to end their fast, the activists refused, citing concerns over potential impacts on OBC reservations.

Former BJP MLA and OBC leader Prakash Shendge expressed solidarity with the protesters, advocating for the withdrawal of the 'sage soyare' draft notification. “Granting Kunbi certificates under this notification is unacceptable to us,” remarked Shendge, highlighting ongoing tensions over reservation policies.

However, Maharashtra Minister Chhagan Bhujbal reaffirmed that Marathas cannot receive reservations under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) quota, amidst ongoing protests by activists Navnath Waghmare and Laxman Hake and, who have staging fast-unto-death for the past six days.

Speaking to reporters in Mumbai on Monday, Bhujbal also reiterated his call for a caste census in the state. The statement comes amid the agitation led by Hake and Waghmare, who declined a government delegation's request to end their fast on June 17.

The protesters clarified that their objection is not against Maratha reservations per se but emphasized that it should not disrupt the existing OBC quota.

“The Maratha community cannot receive reservations from the OBC quota. This stance has been echoed by four previous commissions on reservations, and it has been affirmed by the Supreme Court,” he stated.

He pointed out that there is renewed demand for reservations from the OBC quota, alluding to the ongoing protest led by Maratha activist Manoj Jarange.

Bhujbal underscored the importance of conducting a caste-based census in Maharashtra, emphasizing its potential to ensure equitable allocation of resources among communities.

Meanwhile, the fasting OBC activists have been pushing for the withdrawal of a state government draft notification that acknowledges Kunbis as ‘sage soyare’ (blood relatives) of Maratha community members.

Bhujbal also informed the state assembly about alleged manipulations in Kunbi records, further complicating the ongoing debate over reservation policies in Maharashtra.

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