MUMBAI: Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange Patil called off protest and ended his fast on Saturday in the presence of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde after the Maharashtra government accepted all his demands.
For the last several months, the Maratha community had been protesting for reservation in education and jobs under the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) category.
Jarange and his supporters, who set out from his native Antarwali Sarati village in Jalna district on January 20, had reached Vashi on Friday and had threatened to march towards Mumbai. As Jarange camped in neighboring Navi Mumbai with thousands of supporters, the government tried to persuade him not to proceed to Mumbai.
Finally, giving in to his demands, the Maharashtra government came out with a draft ordinance regarding Jarange’s demands, including to issue Kunbi caste certificates to all relatives of the Marathas whose records have been found.
Jarange accepted the letter from CM Shinde, drank a juice and ended his fast.
“We have fought for the last four months. We thank you for the ordinance. The Maratha community slept on the road during the protest. My body was not supporting me, but still, I continued with the protest for my community. Now it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that it sticks to the ordinance. However, if any issue arises even after the ordinance in future, I will be there to protest at Azad Maidan.”
Meanwhile, the chief minister congratulated Jarange for his fight and called it a victory day.
“Not just the state, but the country was paying attention to Maratha protest. I am from a farmer family and a son of a farmer. I am aware of the Maratha community’s sorrows. Therefore, I had taken an oath, and Eknath Shinde is fulfilling it.”
Stating that this is a historic moment, Shinde added, “Today’s day is a day of happiness. It is a day of victory. Manoj Jarange Patil said that you have accepted all our demands, but you have to come here, and that’s why I have come here. This government stood behind a man who does not have any political background. The CM is also a ‘common man,’ and the government is doing justice to the common man.”