Maratha stir: CM calls special session to resolve issue

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Mumbai, July 28 (IANS) Bowing to demands by the Maratha community and opposition parties, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday said that a special session of Maharashtra Legislature would be convened soon to resolve the Maratha reservation issue.

“We shall pass a resolution or a law based on the recommentions of the Maharashtra State Backward Classes Commission (MSBCC),” Fadnavis said after an all-party meeting.

He said the government has already requested the MSBCC to expeditiously complete its ongoing survey on the economic and social backwardness of the community.

He said the shortcomings in the earlier law, which was stayed by Bombay High Court, would be rectified so solve the issue at the earliest.

The CM said all cases against Maratha activists, who took part in the state-wide agitation earlier this week, will be withdrawn, barring those concerning attacks on police personnel, arson and violence.

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“I have instructed the Director-General of Police to review all these cases and withdraw all except those pertaining to attacks on police, arson and violence,” he said.

Fadnavis said all the grievances of the Marathas should be resolved through negotiations.

The massive 57 silent marches by Marathas across the state during the last two years were considered as a model form of protest which earned appreciation from all quarters and the government has taken note of them to initiate several measures, he pointed out.

In a related development, a joint statement was issued by top leaders from the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena and Opposition leaders, urging Marathas to refrain from violence.

The statement signed by Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagade, Council Chairman Ramraje Naik-Nimbalkar and others appealed for peace and calm.

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“There is a consensus about Maratha reservations. The government will take necessary steps and the opposition parties will fully cooperate in these endeavours. It is decided to appeal to the MSBCC to submit its report at the earliest and a special legislature session will be convened to fulfill constitutional requirements,” the statement said.

Several opposition leaders including Congress’s Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, NCP’s Dhananjay Munde, Ajit Pawar and Chhagan Bhujbal said that the all-party meeting was a belated development and should have been convened much earlier.

Pawar added that the opposition parties will also meet the MSBCC and appeal to it to submit its survey report on priority.

–IANS

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