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Jarange's remarks: Speaker directs for SIT probe into conspiracy to create unrest in Maharashtra

Maharashtra assembly speaker Rahul Narwekar on Tuesday directed the government to set up an SIT and conduct a comprehensive inquiry into the controversial remarks of Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange against Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Last Updated 27 February 2024, 06:10 IST

Maharashtra assembly speaker Rahul Narwekar on Tuesday directed the government to set up an SIT and conduct a comprehensive inquiry into the controversial remarks of Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange against Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

The assembly also witnessed a brief adjournment after the ruling alliance members pointed to remarks of Jarange and alleged there was a conspiracy to create unrest in the state.

The ruling side members stood up, demanding action against those inciting violence. Narwekar then adjourned the House for five minutes.

When the House resumed, the speaker directed the government to set up a special investigation team (SIT) to conduct a comprehensive inquiry into Jarange's remarks against Fadnavis.

Speaking in Antarwali Sarati village in Jalna district on Sunday, Jarange alleged Fadnavis was trying to kill him. The activist also said he would march to Mumbai and protest outside the residence of the deputy CM. Jarange had also claimed that a poisoning attempt was made against him through saline, though he did not elaborate on it.

The issue was raised by Ashish Shelar (BJP) in the Lower House. He said provocative language to incite violence has no place in democracy.

He demanded to know who was behind Jarange's actions, aimed at creating "unrest" in the state by saying Maharashtra will be "burnt down."

Shelar alleged there was a conspiracy to unsettle Maharashtra and malign the Maratha community, known to be brave and disciplined.

"We have been supporting Jarange's demands but are critical of his threatening remarks against Fadnavis," he said.

Speaker Narwekar instructed the government to make a detailed inquiry by setting up the SIT. Fadnavis said in the House that he has no complaints against Jarange. The SIT will investigate whose "script" he is speaking, the deputy CM said.

"Jarange may have made wild allegations against me, but the entire Maratha community supports me. Will find out who is the mastermind. Burning down of MLAs' homes is also not right. A probe will enable to find out who are the real culprits," he added.

Leader of Opposition Vijay Wadettiwar said they do not support Jarange's comments but there is a need to go to the root cause of the issue.

The use of police force was not required (during Jarange's agitation over quota issue last year), he said, adding the government must act against those who make provocative comments.

Congress Legislature Party leader Balasaheb Thorat said the opposition side was nowhere in the picture during discussions between the government and Jarange.

The government was communicating with Jarange and the 'gulal' of victory was sprinkled in Navi Mumbai (after the government issued a draft notification last month on ‘blood relatives’ of Kunbi Marathas), he said.

After that, the agitation began once again. The government did not engage with the opposition for a discussion on the issue, Thorat said.

"We don't support violence and use of provocative language but we should understand why we have come to this kind of a situation," Thorat added.

On Monday, Jarange announced he is withdrawing his 17-day-old fast undertaken over the Maratha quota issue, but insisted he would continue his agitation until the Maharashtra government starts issuing Kunbi caste certificates to extended family members of people already having such documents, thereby allowing them to avail reservation benefits.

The decision by Jarange, who has launched fast multiple times since August 2023, came a day after he announced a march to Mumbai to press for his demands related to quota in jobs and education for the Maratha community and coincided with the start of the state legislature's budget session here. At a special session last week, the state legislature unanimously passed a bill providing 10 per cent separate reservation for the Maratha community in education and government jobs. Jarange, however, insisted on quota for the Marathas under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category and had continued his fast.

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(Published 27 February 2024, 06:10 IST)

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