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Maratha Quota Activist Manoj Jarange-Patil Proposes OBC Reservations for Muslim Kunbis in Maharashtra

Manoj Jarange-Patil, a prominent Maratha quota activist, has stirred debate by advocating for reservations under the Other Backward Class (OBC) quota in Maharashtra to be extended to Muslims holding Kunbi caste certificates.

“There are government records that show that the Muslims are also part of Kunbi castes, “When these records prove that they are also farmers and belong to the Kunbi community, then Muslims should also be given reservation from the OBC quota,” the newspaper quoted Jarange-Patil as saying.

Kunbis, a sub-caste within the Maratha community, are currently classified as OBCs.

Jarange-Patil cited government records indicating that Muslims also belong to the Kunbi community and engage in farming, making them eligible for OBC reservations. He said that denying them this right would be unjust, highlighting the case of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Pasha Patel, whose records reportedly confirm his Kunbi identity.

“If there are such records, then all Muslims should get reservations from the OBC quota, I will see how they don’t get their rights,” Jarange-Patil said.

Over the past year, Jarange-Patil has spearheaded an agitation, which included hunger strikes, to advocate for reservations for Marathas in government jobs and educational institutions.

Despite this victory, Jarange-Patil continues to advocate for Marathas to be categorized solely under OBC reservations to avoid exceeding the constitutional 50% cap on reservations. He has also called for free education for Marathas from kindergarten through postgraduate levels.

Responding to Jarange-Patil’s demands, OBC activist Laxman Hake noted that the Muslim community lacks a clear social hierarchy, a criterion typically considered for OBC classification.

In contrast, during recent election campaigns, BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, opposed extending reservations to Muslims, alleging constitutional violations. Modi specifically referenced Karnataka’s historical inclusion of certain Muslim castes in the OBC list based on social and economic backwardness rather than religion.

Currently, 14 states and Union territories, including Gujarat where Modi was previously chief minister, include Muslim communities in their quota lists based on socio-economic criteria.

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