Maratha activist Manoj Jarange-Patil on Saturday announced that his protest seeking reservations for the community has ended as the government has accepted the demand, ANI reported.

“[Maharashtra] Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has done a good job,” Jarange-Patil said. “Our protest is now over. Our request has been accepted.”

Later in the day, he ended a hunger strike that he had begun on Friday by accepting a glass of fruit juice at the hands of the chief minister. He, however, warned that he would resume his agitation if the state government were to go back on its promise.

The Maratha community’s long-standing demand for reservations in education and government jobs resurfaced last year with protests and hunger strikes by Jarange-Patil. The agitation has witnessed violence, suicides and the resignation of legislators.

In his most recent effort to press for reservations, the activist began a Maratha Aarakshan Morcha, or the Maratha reservation march, to Mumbai from his village Antarwali Sarati in Jalna district on January 20.

On Wednesday, the Bombay High Court had refused to restrain Jarange-Patil from entering Mumbai with his supporters on January 26.

However, on Friday night, a Maharashtra government delegation went to Vashi in Navi Mumbai to meet the activist. Unidentified sources told The Hindu that a copy of a draft ordinance on the matter would be given to Jarange-Patil before being made public.

The latest protest came as the Maharashtra government failed to meet the December 24 deadline issued by Jarange-Patil to pass a law ensuring reservations for the Marathas. The activist had further demanded that boys from the Maratha community should also get free education along with girls.

Jarange-Patil had demanded that until reservations for Marathas were implemented, the community should receive free education “from KG to PG”, or from the kindergarten to the postgraduate level.

The activist also demanded data on Kunbi certificates given by the Maharashtra government. The Kunbis are a sub-caste within the Maratha community who are already classified as Other Backward Classes.

“The government has told me that 54 lakh Kunbi records have been found, of which 37 lakh certificates have been given,” Jarange-Patil said on Friday. “Who are these people? We need data.”

The activist has demanded that all Marathas be identified as Kunbis under the Other Backward Classes category.

In 2018, under pressure, the Maharashtra government – then comprising the Bharatiya Janata Party and a united Shiv Sena – provided 16% reservations for the Marathas under the socially and educationally backward category.

However, the Supreme Court blocked the Maratha reservation in 2021 citing the 50% cap on total reservations it had set in 1992. The court said there were no “exceptional circumstances” or an “extraordinary situation” in Maharashtra for the state government to breach the limit.