Maratha reservation protest, Mumbai bandh: Intensifying its stir for reservation in jobs and education, Maratha Kranti Morcha has called for a Mumbai bandh today. Sakal Maratha, which is backing agitation, also called for a shut down in Navi Mumbai and Panvel as well. Large-scale violence marred a state-wide protest by Maratha outfits in the Maharastra where a constable died and nine other policemen were injured amid suicide attempt by three agitators. The impact of the yesterday’s bandh was more visible in Aurangabad and adjoining districts in the central region of the state, a day after the death of a protester.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis held an emergency high-level meeting on Tuesday to review the “progress” made by the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission on the quota issue. Stone-pelting and arson were reported from several parts of the state. Agitators clashed with the police and torched vehicles at several places, while Internet services were suspended in rural areas of Aurangabad district to prevent any untoward incident. In Jalna, the police fired in the air to scatter protesters.
In a bid to calm down the protesters demanding reservation in government jobs and education under OBC quota, the Maharashtra government has issued a circular for the second time directing all the colleges to not charge full fees from the students of the Maratha community under the Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj scholarship.
Why this protest?
Quotas for Marathas, a politically influential community that constitutes around 30 per cent of the state’s population, has been a hugely contentious issue. CM Fadnavis in the state Assembly on July 20 that his government would provide 16 per cent reservation in government jobs to the Maratha community. “There would be no injustice meted out to the Maratha community,” he had said. The CM talked about a recruitment drive. However, Maratha leaders have demanded OBC status. In May 2017, the Fadnavis-led BJP government had informed the Bombay High Court that it was referring the matter to the Commission headed by a retired judge.
An ordinance was issued to provide 16 per cent quota to Marathas in jobs and education in 2014 by the then Congress-NCP government. Later Bombay High Court had rejected the ordinance. Again in 2015, Fadnavis government brought in a legislation to reinstate quota but the High Court ordered a stay in April 2015.