Mumbai: The demand for reservations for the Maratha community in Maharashtra has sparked violent protests across the state. The protesters have announced a ban on the entry of political leaders in many districts and have attacked and surrounded some of them. On Thursday night, a group of Maratha workers vandalized two vehicles in the convoy of BJP MP Pratap Chikhlikar in Nanded district, when he had gone to meet a former Zilla Parishad member. Chikhlikar managed to escape from the spot amid slogans of “Ek Maratha Lakh Maratha” (One Maratha, a hundred thousand Marathas).
The protesters have also expressed their anger against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who did not mention the issue of Maratha reservation during his visit to Shirdi on Thursday. Manoj Jarange Patil, who is on a fast unto death for the cause, said that if the Marathas were determined, they would not have allowed Modi’s plane to land in Shirdi. He also said that Modi did not need the poor anymore.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar also faced opposition in his stronghold Baramati, where the Maratha Kranti Morcha appealed not to invite him to a ceremony at a cooperative sugar factory. The Morcha said that they would not let Pawar enter the area. Similarly, Guardian Minister Hasan Mushrif was stopped by the protesters in Kolhapur, who demanded his resignation. Opposition leader Ambadas Danve was shown black flags by the Maratha community in Pimpri.
Meanwhile, the state government has extended the deadline for the Shinde Committee, which is studying the feasibility of the Maratha reservation, to submit its report by December 24. The committee was earlier supposed to submit its report by November 30, but it cited the delay in getting the original documents from Telangana, where assembly elections are being held. The committee is examining the documents related to the Kunbi community, which Jarange Patil has claimed as the basis for the reservation.
Jarange Patil has also appealed to the leaders in power to stay away from him and his village, saying that their presence would worsen the law and order situation. He urged them to raise their voice for the Maratha reservation in their respective assemblies instead.