Mumbai: A Maratha activist, Manoj Jarange, has announced that he will start a fast unto death from October 25 if the Maharashtra government does not grant reservation to the Maratha community by October 24. He said that he would also stop taking water and medical aid during his fast, and urged other Marathas to join him in his protest.
Jarange, who had earlier gone on a hunger strike in September and given a 40-day ultimatum to the government, said that the Maratha community would not allow any political leader, including MPs and MLAs, to enter their villages until their demand was met. He compared his protest to a war being fought peacefully and said that he would reveal new guidelines on October 28.
He also expressed his displeasure over the government’s advertisement in some newspapers that listed the steps taken for the welfare of the Maratha community. He questioned the government’s intention and said that the money spent on the advertisement was also theirs.
He appealed to the Marathas to take out candle marches in every tehsil and village in the state and asked them not to resort to suicide. He said that he would use elbows to hit any politician who tried to visit his village in Jalna district and gave an example of the border conflict between India and China.
The Maharashtra government has said that it is committed to providing reservations to the Maratha community while ensuring that the reservation of other communities is not affected. The Maratha community has been demanding reservations in government jobs and education under the OBC category.