Maratha protesters end indefinite fast after Uddhav Thackeray says he will ask Maharashtra govt to accept key demand
Maratha community members called off their protest after Uddhav Thackeray assured he will ask the Maharashtra government to accept their key demand.
Mumbai: Maratha community members on Thursday called off their protest after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray assured he will ask the Maharashtra government to accept their key demand of withdrawing "false" cases lodged against agitators during the reservation stir in the state.
Thackeray's party is a key member of the BJP-led ruling coalition in the state.
Members of the Maratha Kranti Thok Morcha had been on an indefinite fast at the Azad Maidan in Mumbai for the last 10 days in support of a slew of demands, including withdrawal of cases against "13,700 protesters".
They were also demanding that the kin of those who had lost their lives in the quota protests be given a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each besides a government job to one member of their family.
They were also seeking a complete loan waiver for farmers, among other demands.
Thackeray, who visited the protest site in South Mumbai, assured them that all "false" cases lodged against protesters would be withdrawn and those arrested let off.
"I will meet the chief minister and ask him to withdraw all false cases against protesters. Also, I have assured them that those who have been wrongly arrested be let off," Thackeray told reporters.
The politically powerful community had been agitating for quota in government jobs and education. Over the last few years, they took out numerous marches across the state in support of their demand.
The Maharashtra Legislature on Thursday passed a bill proposing 16 percent reservation in education and government jobs for Marathas, declared as socially and educationally backward class by the government.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had earlier assured partial withdrawal of police cases filed against Maratha community members. Such cases related to damage caused to properties during the protests.
"However, criminal charges like assaulting police officials will not be withdrawn," the chief minister, who also holds the home portfolio, had said.
Fadnavis, speaking during the cabinet meeting in Mumbai on Thursday, said except serious offences, including those lodged for assaulting police personnel, all other cases will be withdrawn, sources said.
The Shiv Sena had raised the issue of withdrawal of cases in the Cabinet meeting.
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