Maharashtra cabinet ministers Chandrakanth Patil and Shanbhuraj Desai were stopped from entering Karnataka’s Belagavi on Monday, amid the ongoing tensions between the two states over the border dispute. Apart from the ministers, MP Dhairyasheela Mane was also stopped. The development came not so long after Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had warned the Maharashtra delegation against visiting Belagavi.
“We have already communicated to them that it will create a law and order problem, therefore, it’s not the right time to come. I appeal to Maharashtra CM that the matter is in court and fight it legally," Bommai said.
In view of the border dispute and the ongoing row, buses belonging to Karnataka were blackened which led to Kannadigas’ protest against the attitude of Marathi people and MES members, the order stated.
Patil and Desai have been appointed as coordinating ministers for the Karnataka-Maharashtra border issue and their visit to the area was postponed from December 3 to December 6 to attend events marking the ‘Mahaparinirvan diwas’ or death anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar.
The delegation also includes Mane, who was appointed chief of the expert committee on the border dispute.
Maharashtra and Karnataka have been involved in a long-standing border dispute, with the former seeking administrative control of Marathi-speaking Belgaum and some other villages of the neighbouring state.
- Bommai had recently sought a merger of “Kannada-speaking" areas in Maharashtra’s Akkalkot and Solapur and had also said some villages in Jat taluka in Sangli district wanted to join the southern state.
- Ahead of December 6 visit, the Kannada organisations have given a call to the workers to arrive into Belagavi to prevent the Maharashtra delegation’s entry into the state.
- Karnataka Rakshna Vedike had announced that from Bengaluru the Kannada activists would leave for Belagavi in 100 vehicles on Monday evening.
- Security in Belagavi was tightened on Wednesday in anticipation of heightened tensions following the hearing of the dispute plea in the Supreme Court.
- The assault on a Kannada-speaking student on Wednesday evening amplified tensions in Belagavi.
- On Friday, Bommai visited Belagavi’s Ramdurga to attend a government program related to development project, but he did not visit any border areas.
- The Nationalist Congress Party on Saturday questioned the “eerie silence" of the Maharashtra government, the BJP and the Centre on the “uncalled for" statements made by Bommai.
- Patil on Thursday met with former Karnataka MLA M. G. Muley and a Marathi-speaking delegation from Bidar, Karnataka to discuss problems faced by them in the border areas.
- “Karnataka’s stand is very clear, Maharashtra’s appeal is not maintainable, that’s our stand, and the same will be argued by our lawyers. Our stand is both constitutional and legal," Bommai had said.
Take a look at history of dispute
This brings back to light, the decades-old border dispute over Belagavi (earlier Belgaum) between Maharashtra and Karnataka. The dispute goes back to the 1960s after the reorganisation of States on linguistic lines.
Maharashtra laid claim to Belagavi which was part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency as it has a sizable Marathi-speaking population. It also laid claim to 80 Marathi-speaking villages which are currently part of Karnataka.
(with agency inputs)
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