Mumbai | The Maharashtra government on Monday tendered an apology for the lathicharge during a protest over Maratha reservation in Jalna and appealed for peace.
But Opposition leaders condemned Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led state government and demanded his resignation.
"Lathicharge by police was not right... I am apologising on behalf of the Government. CM has said that the action will be taken against those who are responsible for it," said Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
A meeting was called with Maratha agitation leader Manoj Jarange Patil for discussion on the matter, the Deputy Chief Minister's office informed.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Shinde said, "We held a high-level meeting on the Maratha reservation. I have already spoken to protesters and we will resolve this issue systematically."
"Today, we held a high-level meeting on the Maratha reservation. I have already spoken to protesters and we will resolve this issue systematically. Our government is serious about resolving the issues related to the Maratha reservation," Shinde said.
The meeting of the Maharashtra Cabinet sub-committee on Maratha Reservation took place at 12 pm. The CM and both the Deputy CMs were present at the meeting.
He further said that State Minister Girish Mahajan and other ministers will go (to Jalna) for discussions.
"We can resolve this issue only through discussions. The state government is working seriously on their (Maratha community) demands," he added.
Moreover, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar further said that what happened in Jalna for the Maratha Reservation protest is unfortunate.
"Under Chair of CM Sub-Committee meeting happened for Maratha Reservation. I appeal not to take law and order in hand ... protest should be stopped, do protest peacefully," Pawar said.
After the meeting with CM Shinde, Deputy CM Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar, Maratha agitation leader Manoj Jarange Patil said, "I have had a
conversation with the CM, and he has assured that he will take a positive decision."
Manoj Jarange Patil has undertaken umpteen agitations seeking reservations for the Maratha community.
Amid tension in Maharashtra's Jalna because of the lathi charge on protestors over the Maratha reservation, several Opposition leaders launched an attack on the Maharashtra government and demanded resignation from State government.
Moreover, condemning the lathi-charge in Jalna where protesters were demanding reservation for the Maratha community, BJP leader Pankaja Gopinath Munde said that the protesters should be "heard".
Munde also demanded a "fair investigation" in the matter.
"I condemn this incident. Protestors who were lathi-charged must be heard. Just like any MP or MLA is heard and is given due importance, if any citizen or protester says that he has not done anything wrong it should be given importance and a fair investigation should take place," Munde said while speaking to reporters here.
"My sympathy lies with those protesters who were attacked and were injured in the lathcharge. Some children and elderly were attacked as well...," the BJP leader added.
Aditya Thackeray slammed the state government and asked it to resign. Talking to the reporters here, Aditya Thackeray said that it is not possible that the police will lathi-charge without informing the Chief Minister.
"We all have seen what happened in Jalna...The lathicharge was very brutal as if you are attacking your enemy...The protest was related to a sensitive issue...It is not possible that the police will lathi charge without informing the Chief Minister...The state government should resign if they have a little bit of shame...," the leader said.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray took a dig at the Maharashtra government over the police lathi-charge on protesters in Jalna who were demanding reservation for the Marathas and called the government "shameless".
"I had gone to Jalna to meet protesters...This state government is 'shameless'...They have brutally beaten everyone including women...Now they are not taking responsibility and playing the blame game. This government is sending the message that if anyone protests for justice we will break their head," Uddhav said.
Moreover, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader, Sanjay Raut said that without senior's order this lathi-charge couldn't take place. Maharashtra has ‘General Dyer Raj'.
“Without senior's order, this lathi-charge couldn't take place. Maharashtra has ‘General Dyer Raj’. What has the ED done in Ajit Pawar's case? Give them Padma Bhushan or Padma Shri award and many awards who have washed in the washing machine.”
Earlier, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Chief Raj Thackeray left for Jalna to meet the protestors protesting for the Maratha reservation.
The Rasta Roko movement also got started in multiple locations and Raj Thackeray has been stopping and meeting the people.
Meanwhile, the Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar speaking on the lathi charge on protestors over the Maratha reservation said the government has played games with the Maratha community and if their intentions were clear, the reservation would have been given to the Maratha community by making a law in the Parliament.
He also asked that when 18 ministers in this government were in the previous government as well, then why didn't they do anything; why didn't these ministers put the condition of giving reservation to the Maratha community before joining the new (BJP) government.
Before the meeting, Manoj Jarange Patil, who is protesting for Maratha reservation said that "The government has called us for discussions in Mumbai but we don't feel a need to visit Mumbai anymore because a government delegation led by Minister Girish Mahajan met us and had a discussion with us. Whatever we had to say, we told them."
He said, “We have made it clear to them (government delegation) that the government will have to announce and implement the Maratha reservation in Maharashtra within two days.”
“We have received information that Maharashtra government ministers and top officials are going to hold a meeting on this issue throughout the day today and we hope that today some solution is found on this entire issue,” said Manoj Jarange Patil.
Earlier on Friday, a clash had broken out between police and protesters in Jalna demanding reservation for the Marathas. Police resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the protesters.