Maratha quota protester Manoj Jarange, who has been on a hunger strike in Maharashtra’s Jalna district, said on Thursday that their agitation will continue till the state relaxes the condition of genealogy while giving Kunbi caste certificates to the community members from the Marathwada region.
He was speaking a day after Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said that Kunbi caste certificates would be issued to those Marathas from the region who possess revenue or education documents from the Nizam era that recognize them as Kunbis.
The Marathwada region was part of the erstwhile Nizam-ruled Hyderabad kingdom before it became part of Maharashtra.
Addressing a press conference at Antarwali Sarathi in the district, Jarange welcomed the state’s decision and said it had initiated some steps that had not happened earlier. However, he appeared far from pleased.
“Though we have not received the GR (Government Resolution) about the government’s decision yet, we learned that it will give Kunbi caste certificates to those Marathas who have genealogy. If we have genealogy, we do not need a GR at all to get a (Kunbi caste) certificate,” he said.
Kunbis, a community associated with agriculture, are grouped under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category in Maharashtra and enjoy reservation benefits in education and government jobs.
Jarange, whose protest has reignited the Maratha quota issue in the state, said they want the condition of genealogy relaxed. “Kunbi caste certificates should be given to the Maratha community members from Marathwada without any discrimination. Someone from the government should come with a GR specifying it, and then we will end the agitation,” he said.
The present condition won’t be of any help to those who do not have documents to prove their line of descent, he said. “We are thankful to the government for starting some processes at last. We are ready to walk ten steps forward, but we must take the decision to give Kunbi certificates without any discrimination and relax the condition of genealogy,” he said.
The chief minister’s announcement came after protests by members of the Maratha community across the state in view of police action on pro-quota protesters in Jalna district on September 1. The police baton charged and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse a violent mob at Antarwali Sarathi after protesters allegedly refused to let authorities shift Jarange, who is on a hunger strike, to the hospital.