Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange Saturday began an indefinite fast in Maharashtra’s Jalna district on Saturday, pressing for the convening of a special session of the state legislature within two days to transform the draft notification regarding “blood relatives” of Kunbi Marathas into law.

Speaking at a press conference held at Antarwali Sarati village, the site of his hunger strike, Jarange reiterated the demand for the immediate withdrawal of cases against Maratha community protesters statewide, newswire PTI reported.

“The government should convene a special session of the state legislature in two days and bring legislation concerning `sage soyare` (blood relatives). The government must issue (OBC) caste certificates to 57 lakh people who possess Kunbi records,” he said.

Jarange also demanded that the Justice Sandip Shinde Committee, expedite the work assigned to it.

The committee was constituted by the government initially to look into the Kunbi antecedents of Marathas from the Marathwada region. Its scope was expanded subsequently.

Jarange said the report of the State Backward Class Commission which conducted a survey recently to determine the educational, social, and economic backwardness of the Maratha community, be adopted.

Queried on a letter received by Maharashtra minister and senior OBC leader Chhagan Bhujbal purportedly threatening to harm him, Jarange alleged the NCP leader might have orchestrated the threat to demand protection for himself.

Notably, Jarange and Bhujbal often trade barbs over the Maratha quota issue.

Jarange also claimed that some people had tried to harm him on seven occasions in the past but he chose to remain silent as he didn`t want to cause sensation.

The Maratha leader said he didn`t need any police protection and would not ask for it from the government.

Jarange had observed indefinite fasts in the past also but withdrew them on assurance of the government, which has stressed its commitment to grant the reservation to the Maratha community without harming the existing quotas of other communities.

After Jarange led a massive march to Mumbai, which culminated on its borders on January 26, the government came up with a draft notification stating that “sage soyre” or blood relatives of a Maratha person with records to show he belongs to the Kunbi community would also be recognised as Kunbi, an agrarian community that falls under the OBC grouping.

Jarange has been demanding the issuance of blanket Kunbi certificates to Marathas. (With inputs from PTI)

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