Afternoon Voice

Sena asks Fadnavis to withdraw cases against Maratha protesters

The Shiv Sena asked Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Tuesday to fulfil his promise of withdrawing police cases filed against Maratha community members during their violence-marred stir for reservation.

Expressing solidarity with the Marathas who are seeking reservation in government jobs and educational institutions, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said some “rogue” elements engaged in violence during the state-wide agitation.

Thackeray, an ally of the BJP, was speaking to reporters at his residence ‘Matoshree’ in suburban Bandra after meeting convenors of the Maratha Kranti Morcha (MKM).

The morcha, one of the outfits that spearheaded the quota agitation, sought Thackeray’s intervention in withdrawal of police cases against Maratha protesters.

“The chief minister had promised that cases against Maratha youths will be taken back. He should keep his word now. The Sena stands firmly with the Maratha community,” he said.

The Sena chief said the community took to the streets only after their long-pending demand for reservation was not accepted.

“The community came out on the streets after time and again demanding reservation along with other demands. Lakhs of people took part in the marches that were (earlier) carried out peacefully.

“However, they were not taken seriously and so they took out a ‘thok morcha’ (hit march),” he said.
Thackeray said some unscrupulous elements took advantage of the Maratha protests and engaged in violence during the stir in July-August.

“Thus, if action is to be taken, it should happen justly,” he said.
The Sena chief said while those who engaged in violence were roaming free, those who did not commit any crime were being harassed.

“Arrest them only if there are proofs against them. You (Fadnavis) had said cases will be taken back. However, no such directives have been issued to police stations (where such cases have been registered),” he said.

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“However, criminal charges like assaulting police officials will not be withdrawn,” the chief minister, who also holds the home portfolio, had said.

The Shiv Sena is part of the BJP-led governments in Maharashtra and also at the Centre.