Working on Maratha quota: Fadnavis

Mumbai, Jul 31 (PTI): | Publish Date: 8/1/2018 4:21:24 AM IST

 Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today said his government was working on the demand for reservations to the Maratha community, but that the legal process could not be curtailed.

Speaking at a function here to release a book on Chhatrapati Rajaram, King Shivaji’s descendant, Fadnavis said the decision cannot be taken only on the basis of sentiments.

He described as lamentable the incidents of violence and alleged suicides for the quota demand reported during the ongoing agitation by Maratha organisations in the last few days. 

“If sentiments are aroused, there will be unrest in the community. The legal process needs to be completed and our government will do that in a time-bound manner,” he added.

The BJP-led government in the state enacted a law to provide reservation in jobs and education to the community within a year of coming to power, he noted.

“But the High Court stayed the decision and the Supreme Court upheld the high court order. There is a 1992 Supreme Court judgement that reservations should not exceed 50 per cent. 

To increase them (beyond 50 per cent) there should be extraordinary circumstances and these (circumstances) must be put forth through the State Backward Class Commission (before the court),” Fadnavis pointed out.

His government formed the commission and the process of surveys and public hearings had started, he said.

“But the commission chairman passed away. Now new chairman has been appointed and the process has restarted. 

After its report is submitted, we will call an assembly session to take the reservation demand to its logical conclusion,” he said. People need to understand that to ensure that reservations stand legal scrutiny, the 1992 Supreme Court judgement must be followed, the chief minister said.

“We have to give reservations to the Marathas without tampering with the SC-ST-OBC quota,” he added.

“We are being asked to issue an ordinance. It can be done, but it will not stand (scrutiny) in the court....Do we want to fool people or grant reservations genuinely?” he asked.

5th suicide over quota demand

A 35-year-old man allegedly ended his life today in Maharashtra’s Beed district, the latest in a spate of suicides over the Maratha quota demand, police said.

Abhijeet Deshmukh, a resident of Veeda village in Kej tehsil, hanged himself from a tree near his house, police said.

“We found a suicide note in which he mentioned that he is taking this extreme step in support of Maratha reservation demand,” Beed SP G Shridhar told PTI.

The note also mentioned other reasons for his suicide, like unemployment and unpaid bank loan, another police official said.

This is the fifth suicide in the state over Maratha reservation issue.

A 38-year-old man allegedly committed suicide on July 29 in Nanded district over the Maratha quota demand, police said.

Kacharu Kalyane hanged himself from the ceiling at his home in Dhabad village of Nanded, aound 570 km from Mumbai, when his family members were out for some work.

His suicide note mentioned that he was ending his life over the Maratha community’s demand for reservation, a police official said.

A 35-year-old man had allegedly committed suicide by jumping in front of a moving train in Aurangabad on July 29 over the Maratha quota demand, police said.

Last week, two men in Aurangabad district committed suicide over demand for the quota, while another protester, injured in the Maratha stir violence in Navi Mumbai, died at a Mumbai hospital on July 26.

The politically influential Maratha community, constituting around 30 per cent of the state’s population, has been agitating to press its demand for reservation in jobs and education.

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