Various Maratha organizations staged a vehement protest in Baramati city, Pune district, Maharashtra, denouncing the police’s use of force against quota demonstrators in Jalna and insisting that Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar resign from the Shiv Sena-BJP administration.
In Pune city, opposition parties including Shiv Sena (UBT), NCP (Sharad Pawar faction), and Congress took to the streets in the Kothrud area, cautioning the government against testing the patience of the Maratha community.
Meanwhile, in Baramati, members of Maratha outfits vociferously demanded Ajit Pawar’s resignation from the government. Slogans were also directed at BJP leader and another Deputy CM, Devendra Fadnavis, who oversees the Home Department.
A participant in the protest, Ankush Kakade from the Sharad Pawar-led faction of the Nationalist Congress Party, criticized Deputy CM Fadnavis for his perceived inaction in securing Maratha reservations over the past year. Kakade alleged that the police had been instructed by the state government to suppress the Maratha agitation in Jalna district.
Leaders from the local Congress and Shiv Sena (UBT) also joined the demonstration.
The recent escalation follows a violent confrontation in Antarwali Sarathi village, Jalna district, where police used batons and tear gas to disperse protesters, who had allegedly prevented authorities from transferring a hunger-striking individual demanding Maratha quota to a hospital. The clash resulted in numerous injuries, including 40 police personnel, and the destruction of more than 15 state transport buses.
The Maratha community’s reservation in jobs and education, implemented by the Maharashtra government in 2018 during Fadnavis’s tenure as chief minister, was invalidated by the Supreme Court in May 2021, citing a 50 percent cap on total reservations among other reasons.
With contributions from PTI