Maratha quota stir: Devendra Fadnavis announces partial withdrawal of cases filed against youth protesters

Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday assured partial withdrawal of police cases filed against the Maratha youths for vandalising properties during recent protests for the quota demand.

"However, the criminal charges like assaulting police officials will not be withdrawn," the chief minister told reporters at Sahyadri Guest House in Mumbai.

The announcement came after Fadnavis held a meeting with Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Rajya Sabha MP Narayan Rane and his MLA son Nitesh Rane, along with some leaders of the Maratha community who are pro-reservation. However, the names of the pro-reservation groups werenot revealed by the state government.

 Maratha quota stir: Devendra Fadnavis announces partial withdrawal of cases filed against youth protesters

File image of Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

These groups had organised a bandh in Mumbai region and some parts of Maharashtra last week which had turned violent, with the incidents of arson reported from various cities.

Sunday's meeting was held in the wake of the Maratha bodies demanding withdrawal of the criminal cases registered against the protesters who had organised the shutdowns. "The criminal charges involving attacks on police will not be withdrawn but others will be taken back. The community needs to resort to peace," the chief minister said.

When asked about the date on which the State Backward Class Commission will submit its report to the government, Fadnavis said, "The report will be submitted within a month. Once it is received, we will discuss in the special session of the state legislature and take further action".

He said the BJP government is supporting the expectations of the Maratha community on quota demand. "We will also ensure that no injustice is done (to Marathas) during the ongoing mega recruitment drive of the state government," the chief minister said.

The commission is currently conducting a survey on the socio-economic backwardness of the Marathas who have been demanding 16 per cent reservation in government jobs and education.

Under the recruitment drive, the government has advertised 72,000 posts to be filled up for various departments.

The Maratha leaders who have been steering the quota stir for the last two years have distanced themselves from today's meeting. "None of us who participated in the bandh was present at the meeting with the chief minister. Our primary demand is of reservation in education and government jobs, and we don't want to lose our focus from it," said Virendra Pawar, one of the leaders of the Maratha Kranti Morcha (MKM), an umbrella organisation of various pro-quota groups.

The Shiv Sena and Congress have called for separate meetings in Mumbai tomorrow to discuss the issues related to Maratha reservation.

The Maratha community has been demanding quota under the OBC category. The community had held violent protests across the state last week for this demand.

Meanwhile, the MKM coordinators on Sunday claimed that Fadnavis held talks with the leaders who are "fake".

A statement issued by the MKM and Sakal Maratha Morcha (SKM), who held a meeting in Latur in Marathwada on Sunday, said they were surprised to learn that some 'leaders' from the Maratha community had gone to hold talks with the chief minister in Mumbai.

The SKM and MKM stated that those attended the meeting are not 'leaders' of the community.

The pro-reservation groups, however, refused to offer any comment on the chief minister's announcement for partial withdrawal of criminal charges against Maratha youths.

Updated Date: Jul 30, 2018 10:56:14 IST