Nagpur: The Maharashtra Assembly today passed a bill providing 16 per cent reservation for the Maratha community in education and government jobs but it left out the Muslims, leading to a vociferous protest by the opposition. The previous Congress-NCP government had introduced 16 per cent reservations for Marathas and five per cent reservations for Muslims. The Bombay High Court, while hearing a PIL opposing it, had stayed the government’s decision pending further hearing. The entire opposition, including Congress, NCP, SP and MIM, demanded in the Assembly today that the bill should provide reservation for Muslims too. The House was adjourned thrice for 15 minutes each, and finally the opposition MLAs staged a walk-out. The opposition leaders said they would also boycott the proceedings tomorrow, the last day of the Winter Session. Earlier, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tabled the bill for Maratha reservation. The ruling Sena-BJP alliance defended the reservation for Marathas — who are politically dominant in the state — but said it would seek opinion of the Advocate General on the issue of quota for Muslims, as religion-based reservation was not contemplated in the Constitution
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