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'Maratha show of strength on January 26...' Manoj Jarange's march to Mumbai reaches Pune with 15000 supporters

Commencing a march from Jalna district, he reached Pune on Tuesday with thousands of supporters. Jarange demanded a blanket Kunbi (OBC) caste certificate for all Marathas and reiterated the call for OBC quota inclusion

Maratha show of strength on January 26 Manoj Jarange's march to Mumbai reaches Pune with 15000 supporters
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First Published Jan 23, 2024, 11:22 PM IST

Quota activist Manoj Jarange has affirmed that members of the Maratha community would demonstrate their unity and strength in Mumbai on January 26, emphasizing their persistent demand for reservation. Jarange, who commenced a march from Jalna district to Mumbai on January 20, arrived in Pune district on Tuesday, joined by thousands of supporters.

Explained: Who is Manoj Jarange-Patil, the face of Maratha reservation agitation

Jarange, an advocate for Maratha community rights, estimated that 2 to 2.5 crore people from the Maratha community would converge in Mumbai on January 26 to amplify their collective voice for reservation. "Marathas will show their strength on January 26," he asserted during a press interaction.

The activist, aged around 40, has been advocating for the issuance of a blanket Kunbi (OBC) caste certificate to all Marathas in the state. Despite a meeting with the divisional commissioner from Marathwada, Jarange reiterated his demand for Marathas to be granted a quota under the OBC grouping.

Undeterred by potential government denial, Jarange declared his intent to launch an indefinite hunger strike in Mumbai, expressing his readiness to sacrifice his life for the cause. "I won't go back without securing the reservation for the Maratha community," he affirmed.

Jarange's march garnered significant public support, with a rousing welcome in Shikrapur, Pune district. Around 15,000 people accompanied him, forming a convoy of around 750 vehicles. The police have implemented extensive security measures as the march progresses through Pune en route to Mumbai.

Having previously undertaken fast-unto-death protests, Jarange compelled the government to establish a committee to examine the OBC antecedents of Maratha community members from the Marathwada region. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde announced a survey by the State Backward Classes Commission to evaluate the educational, social, and financial backwardness of the Maratha community.

It is noteworthy that the Supreme Court had nullified the Maharashtra law granting reservations to Marathas in admissions and government jobs in 2021. The state government has filed a curative petition in the apex court, slated for a forthcoming hearing.

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