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If I'm Arrested, Crores Of Marathas Will Go On Hunger Strike: Quota Activist Jarange

Talking to reporters at a private hospital in Maharashtra's Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, where he is currently undergoing treatment after ending his fast at his native Antarwali Sarati village in Jalna three days back, Jarange said the Maratha community is fighting for its rights.

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Manoj Jarange claimed that if he is arrested, Marathas will stage a hunger strike Photo: PTI
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Quota activist Manoj Jarange on Thursday claimed that if he is arrested, crores of Marathas will stage a hunger strike.

Talking to reporters at a private hospital in Maharashtra's Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, where he is currently undergoing treatment after ending his fast at his native Antarwali Sarati village in Jalna three days back, Jarange said the Maratha community is fighting for its rights.The government still has a chance to implement the "sage soyre" (blood relatives of Kunbi Marathas) draft notification. The community will appreciate it, he said.

The draft notification was issued in January for issuing certificates to eligible Kunbi (OBC) Marathas. Jarange has reiterated his opposition to the 10 per cent quota granted to the Maratha community recently by the Maharashtra legislature under a special category.

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The activist has been under fire for using intemperate language against Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday as he alleged the BJP leader was trying to kill him. Assembly speaker Rahul Narwekar on Tuesday directed the state government to set up a special investigation team (SIT) and conduct a comprehensive inquiry into the Jarange's remarks against Fadnavis.

"The Maratha community and I will not give up the demand of quota for the relatives (of Marathas who have Kunbi certificates), even if I am put in jail. It seems the report (of SIT) is about to get ready before the inquiry. No matter wherever they keep me, I am ready to go anywhere," he said.

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"I am not greedy even for a single rupee. Let them arrest me. The route by which I will be taken to jail, they (government) will find crores of Maratha community members sitting on hunger strike along the route," Jarange added.

The activist claimed nearly 1.5 crore persons have got reservation till now as about 57 lakh records of 'Kunbis' have been found so far, and that he has been demanding reservation for the remaining people.

"They (those in the government) expect that we should talk to them respectfully. When our people are getting arrested without any fault, why should we? What was the reason that curfew was imposed in Antarwali Sarati?" he asked. Jarange said the 10 per cent reservation for the Maratha community is acceptable if facilities for the SEBC (Social Economic Backward Class) are included in it.

"This 10 per cent reservation should be included in the OBC quota," he added. On the Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi's proposal that Jarange contest the upcoming Lok Sabha poll from Jalna, the activist said he respects the VBA chief as he has supported their agitation since the beginning. "But contesting elections is not my way. I will keep working for my community," he added.

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