CONDEMNING the police lathi-charge on those staging hunger strike in Antarwali village of Jalna district on Friday, leaders of the Maratha community and coordinators of the Maratha Kranti Morcha, which has been leading the agitation for reservation in education and government jobs, appealed for peace and said no call for bandh has been given.
The Maratha community has decided to hold an agitation at the collectorate on Saturday to press their demand for reservation and condemn the police lathi-charge in Jalna.
“While we appeal for peace, we strongly condemn the police action against members of the Maratha community who were staging a peaceful protest. We appeal to the government to take up the community’s demand for reservation seriously,” Rajendra Kondhare, coordinator of Maratha Kranti Morcha, told this paper.
Stating that no call for bandh has been given, Kondhare said, “We do not want to do anything which will disturb peace in the state. A bandh is not in anyone’s interest… We are still holding a discussion among ourselves to decide the future course of action.”
Kondhare said the government should take action against the police officials who resorted to lathi-charge.
“There was no reason for the police to initiate a lathi-charge. They could have resolved the issue by holding discussions with the agitators. We demand that CM Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis take action against the concerned officials,” he said.
Vinod Patil, one of the key coordinators of the Maratha Kranti Morcha said, “The Maratha community has carried out several agitations and all were peaceful. Why did this agitation go out of hand ?…I will blame the entire government for this lapse.”
Patil said the Maratha community is upset with the government as it has done nothing after the Supreme Court scrapped the Maratha reservation one-and-a-half years ago. “We were expecting the government will find a solution and do justice to the Maratha community but it has failed to do anything, which has upset and angered the community…At least now, the government should take the incident seriously and meet the community’s demand for reservation,” he said.
Patil added this was not the first protest led by Manoj Jarange Patil. They had held similar hunger strike at least four to five times in the past. “Each time they were told that the community’s demand for reservation will be met but nothing happened. This has caused considerable amount of disappointment and frustration among the youths,” he said.
Aba Patil, another leader of the Maratha community, said, “Instead of trying to understand the protestors and hold discussions with them, the police and local administration resorted to unwanted action. Such actions will only fuel anger among the community. It was clearly avoidable.”
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