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Maratha Reservation Protest: Tension mounts in parts of Maharashtra, Cabinet meeting today

Protests for the Maratha reservation in Maharashtra, particularly in the Marathwada region, have intensified, resulting in violence and damage to property. Curfews were imposed in some areas, and state transport services were suspended.

Maratha Reservation Protest Updates: Tension mounts in parts of Maharashtra
First Published Oct 31, 2023, 10:43 AM IST

Protests demanding Maratha reservation have escalated, and tensions have flared in various parts of Maharashtra, particularly in the Marathwada region. The unrest, which began on Monday, has spilt over into districts such as Beed, Parbhani, and Dharashiv, resulting in violent incidents. Even political figures have not been spared, as Maratha agitators targeted them. Notably, the residences of MLA Sandeep Kshirsagar in Beed and MLA Prakash Solankhe in Majalgaon were set ablaze.

The situation has prompted authorities to take significant measures. State transport services have been suspended in numerous areas, while curfews have been imposed in Beed and Dharashiv districts. In Beed alone, over 100 state transport buses have been vandalized since Monday, necessitating heightened police deployment in Sambhajinagar. The state Director General of Police has instructed law enforcement to maintain vigilance statewide to preserve law and order.

Amid these developments, there is a growing sense of unease among Maratha MLAs and leaders in the state. As a response, there are reports of a secretive meeting being planned for today, bringing together Maratha MLAs from all political parties in Mumbai. This gathering is expected to address the current state of the Maratha reservation movement and potentially outline the next course of action. It is anticipated that following this meeting, Maratha MLAs from various political backgrounds may exert pressure on the state government to address the reservation issue.

This ongoing unrest has disrupted the daily lives of residents and travellers, particularly during the festive season. Marathwada, a region deeply affected by the protests, has seen disruptions to train services, impacting the plans of those heading home or travelling.

In parallel, a Maharashtra Cabinet meeting is scheduled to take place today, during which decisions related to the Maratha reservation may be considered. Against this backdrop, there is a strong possibility that an ordinance will be approved, necessitating a special legislative session lasting a day or two.

Moreover, Maratha reservation activist Manoj Jarange Patil, who has been on a hunger strike seeking the inclusion of the Maratha community in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category for government job and education reservations, engaged in a telephone conversation with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. This conversation, lasting approximately 20 minutes, included discussions about Jarange's health condition, as today marks the seventh day of his hunger strike. Jarange has been demanding that the Maratha community should be granted reservation in government jobs and education under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category.

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