MUMBAI: Maharashtra PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil today apologised to Maratha bodies over his remarks on the ongoing quota stir, which he said were "twisted".
Patil also appealed to the protesters to shun violence.
The minister had yesterday said that the Maratha community would get nothing by resorting to violence, as the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission is conducting the sample survey for data collection to ascertain the economic backwardness within the community to justify its demand for quota.
Patil had also said that some "paid" people were trying to defame the agitation by infiltrating it.
His remarks had drawn flak from Maratha bodies as well as NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
Speaking to reporters today, the minister said, "I am requesting (the protesters) with folded hands to stop the ongoing violence.
Maharashtra has a tradition of resolving problems amicably".
Patil said one of the sentences in his remarks was twisted.
"I had stated that 58 rallies had been conducted (by the Marathas for their demands) in a peaceful manner. Everybody had hailed these peaceful rallies and even the state government had also acknowledged the same. This peaceful agitation should not be maligned due to ongoing protests," said the minister.
Patil said he had never blamed or said anything against the Maratha community.
"I do not see reservation as a political agenda but it is my commitment," he added.
The Marathas had held massive "mook" (silent) morchas last year seeking quota under the OBC category in government jobs and education.
The agitation took a violent turn on July 24, a day after a Maratha protester jumped into the Godavari river in Aurangabad district as part of a "jal samadhi" protest.
The Marathas have been holding protests in various parts of the state under the aegis of the Maratha Kranti Morcha (MKM) and other bodies.