Another man dies by suicide in support of Maratha Reservation quota demands

A 23-year-old man died by suicide in Maharashtra’s Nanded city over the delay in granting reservations in education and government jobs to the Maratha community, PTI reported on Tuesday.

The man, identified as Dajiba Ramdas Kadam, consumed a poisonous substance in the city’s Zenda Chowk area on Saturday, the police said. He was found unconscious and rushed to a hospital, where he died the next day.

The police reportedly found a note in Kadam’s possession that read: “This is a question of a government job for me.” The note also had a slogan in support of reservations for the Marathas.

The Marathas historically comprised landowners, peasants and warriors, and a majority of them are presently engaged in agriculture. The community has demanded quotas in education and government jobs for decades, citing a decline in financial stability following agrarian distress. A series of massive protests were organised to press for the demand in 2017 and 2018.

These demands for the Maratha quota resurfaced in recent months with Manoj Jarange-Patil launching a fresh agitation for the cause in August. The activist first began a hunger strike on August 29 but ended it soon after, giving the Maharashtra government a 40-day deadline to implement the reservations expired.

On October 25, Jarange-Patil resumed his indefinite hunger strike after the deadline elapsed. On November 2, although the activist ended the second fast, he warned the Maharashtra government of a bigger agitation if no action was taken in granting reservations by January 2.

The agitation has witnessed violence, several suicides and the resignation of legislators in support of reservations in recent weeks. Jarange-Patil has urged Marathas to fight for quotas peacefully and not take extreme steps. In October, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde had also made a similar appeal to young people from the community.

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