Sumant Bhange, secretary (services), general administration department (GAD), sent a copy of a government resolution, dated September 7, on reservation to Jarange, who is on an indefinite fast since August 29 in a village in Jalna seeking quota benefits in education and jobs for Marathas.
Maratha quota stir: Opposition takes on Maha govt, Shinde says ‘committed to reservation’ for community
On behalf of the government, the senior bureaucrat, in a letter, appealed to him to call off his fast.
The GR is on the state cabinet’s decision to issue Kunbi caste certificates to Marathas from the Marathwada region who possess revenue or education documents from the Nizam era that recognise them as Kunbis, a move that will allow them to avail quota benefits under the OBC category.
Speaking to reporters in adjoining Thane, Shinde said his government will make efforts to prove the Maratha community is backward and its members need reservation in public jobs and education for their socio-economic upliftment.
“The government is firm on giving reservation to the Maratha community and while doing that it will not do injustice to any other community,” Shinde asserted.
In reply to a question, the CM said whatever good work was done on the Maratha quota front during the Devendra Fadnavis dispensation (2014-19) was undone by the erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government (November 2019-June 2022), but things will be set right now.
“But now we will examine the lapses and set things right and ensure reservation to Marathas without affecting reservation to other classes,” he said.
The state cabinet on Wednesday decided that Kunbi caste certificates will be issued to Marathas hailing from Marathwada who possess revenue or education documents from the Nizam era that recognise them as Kunbis.
Kunbis, a community associated with agriculture, are grouped under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category in Maharashtra and enjoy reservation benefits in education and government jobs.
After the cabinet decision, Maratha community members from Marathwada recognised as Kunbis can avail of OBC quota.
The GR said a five-member panel headed by Judge Sandeep Shinde (retired) will determine the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), including legal and administrative framework, for giving caste certificates to Maratha community members referred to as Kunbis in Nizam-era documents.
The panel will submit its report in a month.
Additional chief secretary (revenue), principal secretary (law and justice), and collectors of districts concerned (in Marathwada) will be members of the committee.
The divisional commissioner, Aurangabad, will be the member secretary of the panel.
Meanwhile, quota activist Jarange said earlier in the day his agitation will continue till the state government relaxes the condition of genealogy while giving Kunbi caste certificate to Maratha community members from Marathwada.
Marathwada was part of the erstwhile Nizam-ruled Hyderabad kingdom before it became part of Maharashtra.
Addressing a press conference at Antarwali Sarathi, where he is sitting on fast, Jarange welcomed the state government’s decision and said it has initiated some steps that had not happened earlier.
“Though we have not received the GR about the government’s decision yet, we learnt that it will give Kunbi caste certificates to those Marathas who have genealogy. If we have genealogy, we do not need a GR at all to get a (Kunbi caste) certificate,” he said.
Jarange, whose 10-day-old hunger strike has reignited the Maratha quota issue in the state, said they want the condition of genealogy relaxed.
“Kunbi caste certificates should be given to the Maratha community members from Marathwada without any discrimination. Someone from the government should come with a GR specifying it and then we will end the agitation,” he said.
The state government’s announcement came after protests by members of the Maratha community across the state in view of police action on pro-quota protesters in Jalna district on September 1.
The police had baton charged and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse a violent mob at Antarwali Sarathi after protesters allegedly refused to let authorities shift Jarange to hospital.
With PTI inputs