Tuesday 27 February 2024

The Maharashtra Assembly Speaker, Rahul Narwekar, has instructed the State government to establish a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for a comprehensive inquiry into the contentious remarks made by pro-Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange-Patil against Deputy Chief Minister

Maharashtra Assembly Orders SIT Probe into Controversial Remarks by Activist

Mumbai Maharashtra - The Maharashtra Assembly Speaker, Rahul Narwekar, has instructed the State government to establish a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for a comprehensive inquiry into the contentious remarks made by pro-Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange-Patil against Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

The issue was brought to light by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Ashish Shelar during the Lower House proceedings. Shelar denounced the provocative language that incites violence, stressing its incompatibility with democratic views. He demanded an investigation into the 'orchestrators' behind Jarange-Patil's actions, which he claimed aimed at creating 'unrest' in the western State.

Jarange-Patil, addressing a gathering in Antarwali Sarati village in Jalna district, alleged that Fadnavis, who is also the Home Minister, was attempting to harm him. He further declared his intention to march to Mumbai and protest outside the deputy CM's residence. Jarange-Patil also raised concerns about a supposed poisoning attempt through saline, without providing additional details.

Shelar accused a conspiracy to destabilise Maharashtra and tarnish the Maratha community's reputation, known for its courage and discipline. While expressing support for Jarange-Patil's demands, he criticised the activist's threatening remarks against his party colleague and senior BJP leader, Fadnavis.

Speaker Narwekar, acknowledging the seriousness of the matter, directed the government to conduct an in-depth inquiry by forming an SIT. Responding to the allegations, Deputy Chief Minister Fadnavis stated he harboured no complaints against Jarange-Patil and expressed confidence in the support of the entire Maratha community while underlining the SIT's role in uncovering the source behind the activist's statements.

"The SIT will investigate whose script he is speaking. Jarange-Patil may have made wild allegations against me. But the entire Maratha community supports me. The burning down of MLAs' homes is also not right. A probe will enable to find out who are the real culprits," Fadnavis said.

The Assembly witnessed a brief adjournment as ruling alliance members alleged a conspiracy to incite violence, prompting Narwekar to call for a five-minute break. Upon resumption, the speaker directed the government to form an SIT for a thorough investigation into Jarange-Patil's remarks against Fadnavis.

Responding to the development, the activist insisted that if a SIT was established to investigate him, the inquiry should be thorough, asserting his confidence that he would emerge untainted despite the probe. He also called for an inquiry into the lathi-charge on Maratha protestors in Antarwali Sarati in August last year.

"If they (BJP) want to come back to power, they have to trap me in something. Regardless of the inquiry's nature, I will remain untainted. My caste is my idol," he said. Asserting his determination, Jarange-Patil declared, "If they want to put me in jail, six crore Marathas will follow me."

During a special session last week, the State Legislature unanimously passed a bill providing a separate 10% reservation for the Maratha community in education and government jobs.

While the BJP leader accused NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar of 'supporting' the Maratha activist, the octogenarian leader labelled the accusations as 'childish'. He said that he was the first to meet Jarange-Patil during which he advised the activist to avoid creating divisions between communities, and the interaction was limited to a single conversation.

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