Maratha leader seeks OBC quota for Muslims

The Asian Age.  | bhagwan parab

India, All India

Mr Patil, till now, was fighting for the inclusion of his Maratha community in the OBC category

Maratha activist Manoj Jarange Patil. (Image: Twitter)

Mumbai: In a demand that is further likely to complicate the reservation issue in Maharashtra, Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange Patil on Sunday insisted that Muslims in the state should also be given a reservation under the OBC category.

Mr Patil, till now, was fighting for the inclusion of his Maratha community in the OBC category and had demanded that Marathas be declared Kunbis, who enjoy reservation in government jobs and educational institutes as OBCs. His call for Muslims to be included in the OBC category is likely to create a new controversy.

The demand is also expected to have its echo in the forthcoming budget session of the Maharashtra Assembly, beginning on June 27.

“In the list of OBCs, people were included according to their occupation. Mali community, which is a horticulturist group, or Kunbis, who are farmers, have been included in the list of OBCs based on their occupation. Government records have found that the Muslim community also does agriculture. We have found old records of Muslims registered as Kunbis because they were involved in agriculture. If that is the case, Muslims should also be included in the OBC category as Kunbis,” the activist said.

Mr Patil demanded that the government clarify if it is true or not that the occupation was the basis for the inclusion of the Mali community.

“Every community having Kunbi records should be given reservation benefits. Muslims should not be treated unfairly and the government should speak according to the law,” he added.

However, OBC activist Laxman Hake has countered Mr Patil saying Muslims do not have castes in their religion. “Mr Patil should understand the policy of reservation. Hinduism is divided into social hierarchies. But the Muslim community is seen as a religion. As there is no caste, they are divided into two groups, the Karu and the Naru, of which the Karu is the entrepreneurial element. Therefore, they are given a certificate by the local authorities as per the Constitution,” said Mr Hake.

Mr Hake had begun an indefinite hunger strike opposing Maratha’s demand for inclusion in the OBC category. He withdrew his agitation after the state government assured him that the OBC reservation will not be harmed.

Mr Hake further argued that even the Maratha community should not get OBC reservation as the ‘Kunbi’ and ‘Maratha’ communities were completely different.

“If Manoj Jarange wants to make any logical argument, he should come and debate with me with a team of advisers who have properly studied this matter. He should stop making baseless demands and threats,” Mr Hake said.