Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday appreciated Maratha protestors across Maharashtra for their immaculate way of protest for reservation. “I’m glad the way the protest has been conducted so far. Despite being a silent protest, it still speaks volumes. It has voiced more than crores of people’s concerns. The protesters would have their food and clean the premises and only then they would leave. I’m grateful to the organisers of Maratha protest for conducting a protest that shook the government. They have set a benchmark as to how protests should actually be carried out in the future,” said Fadnavis in his speech during the Maharashtra Legislature winter session 2016 in Nagpur.
Fadnavis, who was loud and clear on the government’s stand to support Maratha reservation, said that the Marathas were given a reservation during Shahu Maharaj and even the British rule. But, in 1965, this reservation was suddenly reversed. Even after demanding reservation for a long time, the Mandal Commission refused to grant reservation by tagging Marathas as a ‘progressive community.’ He said that even the Bapat Commission didn’t support Maratha reservation then.
Fadnavis, blaming the erstwhile Congress-NCP government for the discrepancies in the ordinance, also said that the (Narayan) Rane Committee (on Maratha reservation) was never placed on record in the court. He further added, “Why didn’t the Congress, with Prithivraj Chavan as the former CM, provide reservation to Marathas then?”
Demanding a death penalty for the culprits of the Kopardi rape-murder case, Fadnavis assured that the case has been transferred to a fast-track court on trial, with Ujjwal Nikam as the public prosecutor. Also, one of the world’s best lawyers Harish Salve (without he charging a rupee) has been roped in for the Maratha reservation case.
Talking about the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1988, Fadnavis said that the Act would neither be repealed nor diluted. “Fortunately, Maharashtra is not amongst the 10 states in the country, where annually 1400-2000 cases of atrocities are filed. The Dalit community and the Maratha community aren’t against each other. We have to make sure that the misuse of this act stops and Marathas get the reservation they demand. Any Dalit, who misuses the Act, can’t be Dr Ambedkar’s follower. We would be soon forming a House community with at least 40% SC/ST members who will ensure that the Act isn’t misused. But, wherever any genuine atrocity has taken place, we will ensure that justice is delivered. ”