Marathas have been declared as socially and educationally backward class of citizens.
Marathas will now get 16 per cent reservation in jobs and education in Maharashtra — a bill to this effect was passed unanimously today by the state assembly. This 16 per cent reservation is over and above the 50 per cent reservation allowed by the Supreme Court. Currently, 52 per cent seats in Maharashtra are reserved and the Maratha quota will take it to 68 per cent.
Earlier this year, the Marathas, a politically influential community that forms 30 per cent of the state's population, were declared a backward community following their long-standing demand.
The state government led by Devendra Fadnavis took action after protests by the community took a violent turn in July and August.
The upsurge of Marathas, a largely agrarian community to which a large section of Maharashtra politicians belong, had started last year, with its members contending that the politicians had not done much for them. The young brigade claimed because of quota and other benefits, even the Scheduled Castes and Tribes were better off.
The protests, which had started as silent marches, turned violent in July after a 28-year-old man committed suicide. A second protester had made a suicide attempt.
The community hit the road with a vengeance, scheduling frequent bandhs and daylong protests that was accompanied by violence in various pockets.
Arterial roads and train lines were choked, on occasion, vehicles and shops were set ablaze. The Maratha Kranti Morcha, the group spearheading the agitation, even called for the shutdown in Mumbai, the financial heart of the country.
Later, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis promised that the government will look into the matter. "A law was made for reservation to the community, but that was stayed by Bombay High Court," Mr Fadnavis said.