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  • Oct 24 deadline for Maratha quota: Jarange Patil warns of hunger strike again, bans politicians from villages | Mumbai News

Oct 24 deadline for Maratha quota: Jarange Patil warns of hunger strike again, bans politicians from villages | Mumbai News

As the deadline of October 24 set for the state government to announce reservation for the Maratha community is set to expire, Manoj Jarange Patil, the Jalna-based activist, who became the face of agitation after he sat on hunger strike last month, has warned of intensifying the stir if the demand is not met by Tuesday.

Announcing that he would start fast-unto-death again and will not allow any politician to enter the villages, Patil said, “No political leader will be allowed in our villages until the issue of Maratha community is resolved. If you want to come to our villages, come with the reservation. If not, we will not even let you cross the village borders.”

He was speaking at a press conference in Antarwali Saraati village in Jalna district where he had fasted for 17 days, demanding reservation for the Maratha community.

Nearly 600 villages with sizeable numbers of Maratha community members have imposed a ban on politicians till the Maratha reservation issue is resolved. The villagers have put up banners saying “no entry to politicians till the Marathas get reservation”. Some villages have passed resolutions while some have written to the authorities informing about the same. Some villages have also passed resolutions to boycott the upcoming elections.

“The government had asked for 30 days, we gave them 40 days. Now, if justice is not delivered on October 24, I will start hunger strike again from October 25… I will not even take a medical assistance or water,” Patil said adding that from October 25, political leaders will be banned in villages .

Festive offer

“We will go on a chain hunger strike and agitation in every village… The community has been peacefully agitating so far. But don’t play with their feelings and patience. We request the government with folded hands, now the patience is going down… Hence a decision should be taken in the next two days. The government should not waste time… We will not back down without reservation,” said Patil.

The community leader also said that a huge number of Maratha community members in every taluka and every village would come together and take out a candle march, date of which will be announced later.

“It will be a peaceful protest but it would cost the government a lot… So the government should immediately announce the reservation and not face our protest… it will be difficult for the government… I will also make some revelations on October 25,” he added.

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The issue of Maratha reservation took the centrestage of Maharashtra politics when police allegedly resorted to lathicharge and used tear gas on the protesters in Jalna’s Antarwali village on September 1. The state government came under the fire from opposition leaders, with all party leaders going to Antarwali village to support the agitation led by Manoj Jarange Patil and slam the government for using force on the protesters.

The pressure forced the government to initiate talks with Jarange Patil and issue a government resolution with a decision to give Kunbi caste certificates to the Marathas whose ancestors were described as Kunbi in Nizam-era documents of the Hyderabad kingdom. It will allow the Marathas from the state’s Marathwada region to avail of quota benefits as the Kunbis fall under the OBC group.

Patil, who had been on an indefinite hunger strike since August 29 in Jalna, broke his fast on September 14 in the presence of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and other ministers only after taking assurance about the reservation and gave 40 days to the government to announce the decision which would be get over on October 24.

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