The community had demanded that the government should include them in Other Backward Caste category failing which they will intensify their agitation.
The Banjara Dal, a tribal community from Maharashtra had staged one more protest at Azad Maidan on Wednesday against the state government for overlooking their demands and rights even after 60 years of Independence. The protests were led by Parliamentarian Haribhau Rathod, Sanjay Rathod, Ex-Min and MLA Manohar Naik.
Mr Rathod said numerous tribes from different states who belong to the Banjara Community, will continue to fight against the government for their plight. Banjara community, which is still backward, should be given due recognition under Other Backward Caste (OBC) category across the country. Rathod also demanded annexation of their Banjara community in the ‘other backward classes’ (OBC) category and extension of reservation facility in education and jobs.
Time and again state government and its Chief Ministers had assured the community of sympathetic consideration of the demand, but so far nothing is delivered by them to bring Banjara community under other backward class category.
Banjara community has given Maharashtra nine chief ministers since its inception in May 1960, including the first head of the state late Y.B. Chavan to Ashok Chavan. Four of them, namely late Shankarrao Chavan, late Vasantdada Patil, Sharad Pawar and Vilasrao Deshmukh have held the post twice. Marathas have also constituted majority in most state cabinets and legislature houses.
Banjaras, another sizeable community in the state, were hoping for inclusion in the OBC category, with then Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the centre having accepted the recommendations of the Renke Committee to that effect.
Haribhau Rathod, a member of Maharashtra Legislative Council, said the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre alone could provide reservations to the Dhangar and Banjara communities and pressurizing the Maharashtra government was futile. “There is no point in trying to pressurise the state government. The reservation bill is pending at the level of the Central government,” Rathod said, speaking to reporters. Now it was the responsibility of the Modi government to ensure that the recommendation was implemented and bill passed, Rathod added. “We will be organising a massive rally in Mumbai on August 11 and invite representatives from various such communities from across India to intensify agitation over demands for the backward classes from the Modi government,” he said.
When we tried to contact Sanjay Rathod and Manohar Naik they remained unavailable for comment.