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All you need to know about Maratha community's demand for reservation

By Chennabasaveshwar
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    Mumbai, July 25: Maratha, largely engaged in agriculture, is the politically influential community in Maharashtra. The community which roughly constitutes around 30% of the state's population, has been demanding reservation in educational institutions and government jobs under the OBC (Other Backward Classes) category.

    Organisations affiliated to the community have been taking out 'silent marches' in the states for the last two years. The Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission undertook a survey to ascertain the economic backwardness in the Maratha community. The panel is headed by Justice (retd) MG Gaikwad.

    The report is based on findings of the sample survey conducted at five villages in every district and the figures on the community available with the government, Gaikwad told PTI.

    The panel's team received about 1,850 representations from the district in this connection. The survey has been completed in the Marathwada region, and in Nagpur, Amravati, Ahmednagar and Solapur districts, Gaikwad said, adding that the exercise is on in other parts of the state.

    It may be recalled that, in 2003-04, the National Commission for Backward Classes had rejected the demand for including the Maratha community in the category of OBC category. The Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission had held in 2008 that "Marathas are both economically and politically a forward caste. They never faced social stigma to invite the backward class status."

    Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday had called for an emergency high-level meeting to review the "progress" made by the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission on the issue.

    However, the Maratha community claimed that the government need not wait for the commission to finalise its report as the Backward Class Commission was already considering the proposal to accord OBC status to Marathas, and its work was going on.

    "We do not know when the commission will complete its work. This means the government will not be able to take the decision as in a few months' time the general elections will be upon us. The government will get a chance to play vote bank politics by promising quota for the community during election campaigning," the community leaders say.

    They claimed that the immediate trigger for their protest is the announcement by Fadnavis in the state Assembly on July 20 that his government would provide 16 per cent reservation in government jobs to the Maratha community.

    Pro-reservation outfits burn a vehicle

    Pro-reservation outfits burn a vehicle

    Pro-reservation outfits of Maratha community burn a vehicle after a clash with the police personnel during the funeral of Kakasaheb Shinde, who died yesterday during a protest march in favour of reservations, in Kaygaon village at Aurangabad on Tuesday, July 24, 2018.

    Protestors take out a rally

    Protestors take out a rally

    Protestors from Maratha community take part in a rally demanding reservation for Marathis, in Nanded on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Maratha outfits have called for a bandh in Maharashtra a day after of a protestor demanding reservation for the community jumped off a bridge over Godavari river and died, in Aurangabad. (PTI Photo)

    Injured protester

    Injured protester

    A protester is carried away after being injured during a protest rally demanding reservation for Marathis, in Nanded on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Maratha outfits have called for a bandh in Maharashtra a day after of a protestor demanding reservation for the community jumped off a bridge over Godavari river and died, in Aurangabad. (PTI Photo)

    Protests in Karad

    Protests in Karad

    Protestors from the Maratha community take part in a rally demanding reservation, in Karad, Maharashtra on Tuesday. Maratha outfits have called for a bandh in Maharashtra today, a day after a man demanding reservation for the community jumped to his death in a river in Aurangabad district. (PTI Photo)

    Shops closed in Nanded

    Shops closed in Nanded

    A view of closed shops during a protest rally by Maratha community members demanding reservation for Marathis, in Nanded on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Maratha outfits have called for a bandh in Maharashtra a day after of a protestor demanding reservation for the community jumped off a bridge over Godavari river and died, in Aurangabad. (PTI Photo)

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