DELHI: After an overwhelming
show of strength+ by the agitating Maratha
community on Wednesday, chief minister Devendra
Fadnavis has agreed to their main demands.
Tens of thousands of people waving saffron flags marched through Mumbai early
in the day in what was the Maratha community's 58th protest+ in a year, demanding quotas in
government jobs and education, as well as justice in the brutal gang rape of a
14-year-old Maratha girl.
The chief minister has extended all the educational concessions that Other
Backward Communities (OBC)
receive to the Marathas as well. There are 605 streams in which OBCs currently
get concession, and this will be given to the Maratha community as well.
The government has also offered land and announced a grant of Rs 5 crore to
build hostels for students from the Maratha community in every district
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Regarding the demand for job reservation, the state government has formed a
backward class commission to study the grounds on which reservation can be
given to the politically active Maratha community. Fadnavis said that they will
request the commission to fast track their process and submit it to the Bombay high
court for considering the grounds for reservation.
Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis met representatives from Maratha
Morcha and leaders from all political parties. (ANI image)
"The Kopardi gang rape case has been expedited. In the last five months
public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam has verified 31 witnesses but the victim's
lawyers has started delaying tactics," Fadnavis said.
The Maratha community accounts for nearly 35 per cent of Maharashtra's 123
million people. Wearing saffron caps and carrying flags, the protesters walked
down south Mumbai's JJ flyover, which was closed for vehicular traffic, winding
their way to the protest venue with no speeches or slogans raised. The march
has been organised by the Sakal Maratha
Samaj, an umbrella organisation of several Maratha groups.
assembly also witnessed chaotic scenes with both the opposition
and the ruling party MLAs storming the well of the house demanding reservation
for the Maratha community.