MUMBAI: Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday reiterated his government's stand on granting quota for the Maratha community and said that only his government can give quota that can stand the scrutiny of the court, even as the Maratha stir continued across the state. Eight of the community workers attempted self-immolation at Latur and an educated unemployed youth committed suicide at Beed.
"Only we can give lasting quota. It was our government that brought the Maratha quota bill and got the legislation passed. Though the court has given a stay, we shall take the issue to its logical end," Fadnavis said while speaking here at a book release function.
"Some people are suggesting that the government should hurry and take the ordinance route again. But, let me assure you they are misleading people. If government takes that route again, the quota won't stand the legal scrutiny even a single day," Fadnavis said adding that government is trying to complete all the statutory measures necessary for lasting quota for Maratha community.
Fadnavis also added that in the pre-independence India, Maratha king Shahu Maharaj had given a quota for the community and his government is the first one to do so in post-independence India and in that sense his government is truly carrying Shahu Maharaj's legacy forward.
Hinting that the Maratha quota issue is being used for political purposes, Fadnavis lashed out at the opposition parties for politicizing the issue of height of the Shivaji Memorial off Mumbai coast. He also reiterated that the Shivaji statue would be the tallest in the world.
However, even as Fadnavis said all these things the Maratha stir continued at several places in the state. While eight of the community workers tried self-immolation outside Deputy collector's office at Ausa in Latur district, a Maratha youth committed suicide at Beed.
Eight young men from Taka village in Ausa taluka of Latur district gathered at the deputy collector's office and poured kerosene over themselves that is when the alert police constables on duty intervened and detained them. However, the Maratha community staged a demonstration over two hours at the office and condemned the government. The protestors demanded a written assurance that the administration would proactively pursue the quota demand and ended the agitation after the youth were let go. The agitators also said that they would again resort to severe agitation on August 9.
Meanwhile, Abhijit Deshmukh (35) from Beed hanged himself in support of the Maratha quota demand. This is the seventh suicide in past week in favour of the stir. Abhijit's body was found hanging from a tree near his residence on Tuesday. He had written a letter explaining reasons behind his suicide, wherein he had mentioned Maratha quota stir, bank loans and medical expenses as the reasons for his suicide. Abhijit was a postgraduate in computer science, but was restless due to unemployment. His family was debt-ridden due to which he was unable to get loans to start a business, and had slipped into depression, his friends have told the police. The police are trying to ascertain whether the letter found on his body was written by him, said police inspector Shirish Humbe.