Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale Thursday said he supported the demand of the Maratha community for reservation in jobs and education, but added that those who were demanding a repeal of the atrocities Act should first ensure atrocities were not committed on Dalits. “I support the Marathas’ demand for reservations. I am willing to talk to the prime minister on this. But we will not allow the atrocities Act to be repealed. If people are insisting on repealing the Act, then they need to first take steps to ensure atrocities do not happen,” Athawale told reporters in Mumbai.
“I support the demand for Maratha reservations. They should get reservation. However, this issue can be sorted by giving them 25 per cent reservation for which we will need to make constitutional amendments. I am ready to work on this and even meet the prime minister on the issue. The issue of reservations is being raised by various sections across the country. All of them should be given reservations in the creamy layer,” he said.
He said the present Maratha agitation was not against the incumbent chief minister, adding that the Maratha community should question the previous chief ministers of the state over the conditions of the community.
There have been concerns within the Dalit community that the Marathas’ demand for reservation and scrapping of the atrocities Act stem from their hostility towards the community.