IANS

Rattled by the cascading effect of the Maratha unrest in the state for the past three days, the Maharashtra government on Sunday opened the doors for negotiations with the agitating groups, as the Samyukta Kisan Morcha extended support to the protestors.

After Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s public assurance to ensure education and job quotas for Marathas, BJP's Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis called up Manoj Jarange, the Maratha Kranti Morcha leader spearheading the hunger strike, and said that the government does not endorse the police baton-charge on the protestors.

Later, BJP Minister Girish Mahajan and MLA Nitesh N. Rane went to meet the protestors in their tent in Antaravli-Sarati village where it all started on Friday evening, prompting breakaway Nationalist Congress Party's Deputy CM Ajit Pawar to order a full investigation into the violence.

On behalf of the state government, Mahajan is understood to have submitted a proposal for talks with the Marathas subject to the latter calling off the hunger strike first.

Though the response of Jarange was not clear, a Maratha leader said that they would hold consultations among all groups before taking a final decision.

Maharashtra Samyukt Kisan Morcha leader Dr. Ashok Dhawale has strongly condemned the police action on the protesting Marathas, 90 per cent of whom are farmers and supporter their demands, ahead of the organisation’s convention in Mumbai on Tuesday.

On Saturday, three ex-CMs – Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena-UBT President Uddhav Thackeray and Congress’ Ashok Chavan had gone to Jalna and met the protestors, plus those who were injured in the police action.

Now on Monday, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena President Raj Thackeray will go to Jalna and meet the Marathas to express solidarity with their cause.

The Maratha community in the state is furious after the aerial firing, baton-charge and tear-gas shells being lobbed on the protestors in Jalna causing more than five dozen casualties including among the police.

Meanwhile, the Jalna police on Sunday clamped prohibitory orders for two weeks till September 17 in the entire district banning assembly of five or more persons in view of the tense situation there.

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