JALNA: Activist Manoj Jarange, who is observing an indefinite fast to demand reservation for the Maratha community, has issued a warning that a series of hunger strikes will commence in every village across Maharashtra from October 29 if the government does not promptly grant the reservation. Jarange emphasized that the government will be held responsible if any harm befalls the fasting protesters during the demonstrations.
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Speaking to the media in Antarwali Sarati village in Jalna district, Jarange announced the initiation of the second phase of the reservation movement and revealed that the third phase would kick off on October 31.On the fourth day of his hunger strike, the 40-year-old activist declined to be examined by doctors, even after Jalna district collector Shri Krishna Panchal and superintendent of police Shailesh Balkawade visited him to inquire about his health.”Starting October 29, a relentless series of hunger strikes, including fasts unto death, will be launched in every village in Maharashtra. The government must take this movement seriously and should not underestimate the determination of agitating Marathas,” Jarange declared.Jarange began the second phase of his hunger strike on October 25, following the expiration of an “ultimatum” he had given to the state government to announce Maratha reservations in jobs and education under the OBC category.Previously, he had undertaken a 14-day fast in the same village from August 29 to September 14 but had withdrawn it based on assurances given by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.Jarange stated that the details of the third phase of the agitation would be disclosed on October 30, with the start date slated for October 31.He reiterated his call for a ban on political leaders, both from ruling and opposition parties, entering the villages during the protests, highlighting the significant challenges faced by Maratha children in need of these reservations.Both chief minister Eknath Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis had expressed the government’s commitment to providing legally sound reservations for the Maratha community without diluting the quotas for other communities.However, Jarange accused the government of stalling on the reservation commitment, alleging that the chief minister was under pressure from certain quarters to deny reservations to Marathas.CM Shinde, at the annual Dussehra rally of Shiv Sena in Mumbai on October 24, publicly pledged to grant legally sustainable reservations to the Maratha community, reaffirming the government’s dedication to fulfilling their rightful demand.(With inputs from PTI)