Anger is increasing among the agitators regarding Maratha reservation. Some protesters were seen blackening the posters of CM Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis displayed on buses. The video is said to be from Bhiwandi, Thane.
What is the issue of Maratha reservation?
The demand for reservation in government jobs and education for the Maratha community in Maharashtra is a very old one. In 1997, Maratha Sangh and Maratha Seva Sangh launched the first major Maratha movement for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions. The protesters have often said that the Marathas were not upper caste but were originally from the Kunbi, or agricultural community.
Talking about the current situation, Maratha community constitutes about 31 percent of the population of Maharashtra. It is a major caste group but still not homogeneous. It includes the former feudal elite and rulers as well as the most deprived peasants. The society has often agitated in the state citing agricultural crisis, lack of jobs and unfulfilled promises of the governments.
In 2018, a bill proposing 16% reservation in education and government jobs for the Maratha community was passed from the Maharashtra Legislature. In the bill, the government declared the Maratha community as a socially and educationally backward class.
After being passed in the legislature, the case of Maratha reservation went to court. In June 2019, the Bombay High Court upheld the constitutionality of Maratha reservation, but asked the government to reduce it from 16% to 12 to 13% as recommended by the State Backward Classes Commission.
This reservation got a big blow when in May 2021, the Supreme Court declared Maratha reservation unconstitutional and canceled the law. The court held that the 50 per cent ceiling on Maratha reservation had been breached.
141 cases registered in connection with violence during protest: Police
Maharashtra Director General of Police (DGP) Rajneesh Seth had said on Wednesday that the state police have so far registered 141 cases and arrested 168 people in connection with the violence during the Maratha quota agitation. Regarding the violence in Beed district, he had said that between October 24 and 31, 20 cases including seven crimes have been registered under section 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code.