Maratha Reservation Stir: Protester Dies, Toll Rises To 3
Marathas, a politically dominant community that constitutes around 30 per cent of the state's population, have been demanding a 16-per cent reservation.
Mumbai, Jul 27
A protester, who was injured in the violence that occurred during the Maratha reservation stir on Wednesday at Kopar Khairane in neighbouring Navi Mumbai, succumbed to his injuries today.
With this, the death toll in the violence that erupted across the state during the quota agitation earlier this week now stands at three.
Doctors at the JJ Hospital said Rohan Todkar (25), who had sustained multiple injuries to his head, hands and legs, died today after being shifted to the state-run hospital at Byculla yesterday.
Facing flak from the Maratha community representatives and Opposition, who have accused him of dillydallying on the issue, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has decided to convene an all-party leaders’ meeting tomorrow to discuss the issue.
The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by the chief minister late last night and attended by senior BJP ministers, including Chandrakant Patil, Girish Mahajan, Subhash Deshmukh and the party’s state unit chief, Raosaheb Danve.
Meanwhile, Revenue Minister Patil and some of his colleagues met Maharashtra Backward Class Commission Chairman Justice (retired) MG Gaikwad this evening in connection with a survey report that ascertained the backwardness of the Maratha community.
The report is to be placed before the Bombay High Court, which is hearing a case in connection with demands for reservation for the community.
Former chief minister Narayan Rane, who met Fadnavis and also some protesters few days ago, today said the government was “capable of giving quota”.
Rane added that he would facilitate a meeting between the chief minister and the community leaders in a day or two.
Rane, however, also advised the protesters “to not stretch things beyond a point” to ensure that the community did not suffer.
“I will facilitate communication between the chief minister and the Marathas in a day or two. I will convey the demands of the protesters. If the CM is okay with it, will facilitate the meeting,” he told reporters here.
Rane said he would urge the chief minister to take a stand on the issue that the community could trust.
Amid the heightened activities centring around the reservation issue, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray made a strong pitch for proffering reservations based on economic status rather than caste.
His comments came a day after a decade-old video showing former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh making similar recommendations went viral on the social media.
Addressing partymen in Pune, Thackeray said, “I have been saying this for long that economic condition, not caste, should be the only criterion to give reservation.
“Because when one community gets reservation, another one comes forward and that leads to conflict and creates hatred between communities…and there is no end to it.”
So far, six MLAs have announced their resignation, expressing solidarity with the quota protesters.
However, only one of them, Shiv Sena’s Harshvardhan Jadhav, has tendered his resignation personally in the office of Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagade.
Marathas, a politically dominant community that constitutes around 30 per cent of the state’s population, have been demanding a 16-per cent reservation. The community members had earlier taken out silent marches across the state to highlight their demands.
The stir, however, turned violent earlier this week with the protesters pelting stones, torching vehicles, blocking roads and stopping train services in several parts of the state.
The violence began after a 27-year-old protester from Aurangabad jumped to death in the Godavari river on July 23.
Another demonstrator from the same district had consumed poison and died a day later.