The ongoing border dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra intensified on Tuesday, with several Karnataka buses defaced in Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg, and likewise buses from Kolhapur smeared with black ink on the Belagavi border. Workers of several outfits from both the states were detained by the police, for vandalising of some vehicles and the permit sought to enter Belagavi, the disputed region.
The visit of two Maharashtra ministers Chandrakant Patil and Shambhuraj Desai to Belagavi was postponed, after Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had advised not to enter. Meanwhile, Bommai held a telephone conversation with Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde over the border dispute.
Chief Ministers of Maharashtra and Karnataka, Eknath Shinde and Basavaraj Bommai, respectively, held a telephonic conversation on the border dispute issue. After this, CM Bommai took to Twitter and said both counterparts have agreed to “maintain peace and law and order”. However, he said his stand on the matter still remains the same, and that the matter will be pursued in Supreme Court.
NCP leader Sharad Pawar addressed a media briefing on the Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute. He said he is worried by what is going on in Belagavi, the disputed region, and said that Marathi people are living in a “terrorized” enviroment in Belagavi. He said, “People from there (Belagavi) often get in touch with me and what I am hearing is worrisome. If the attacks on vehicles from Maharashtra don’t stop in the next 24 hours, Karnataka CM Bommai will be responsible for it.”
Activists of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) claimed to have painted at least four buses of Karnataka state transport corporation in Pune district during separate protests. They also wrote “Jai Maharashtra” on these buses, a PTI report said. A local leader of the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) faction confirmed they sprayed black and orange paints on at least three buses in Swargate area of Pune city.
The Maharashtra government had directed Chandrakant Patil and Shambhuraj Desai to visit Belagavi to address the border issue, but their schedule is now cancelled. Patil and Desai were appointed as coordinating ministers for the issue Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had cautioned the ministers to avoid travelling to Belagavi.
According to a Times of India report, as many as 10 grampanchayats from Akkalkot tehsil of Solapur district passed the resolution in their gramsabha’s to join Karnataka and sought no-objection from Maharashtra government by a petition submitted through Solapur’s collector office.
Kannada activists, who were protesting against the proposed visit of Maharashtra ministers, stopped vehicles coming from Maharashtra at Hirebagewadi toll in Belagavi. The activists stopped lorries and hoisted Kannada flags. They also pelted stones and damaged the rear windows. The police tried to prevent further damage and dispersed the activists.
Karnataka CM Bommai 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.
According to reports, Kollapura Shivasena district President Vijay Devane was stopped from entering Karnataka at the Nippani border. Him and his supporters shouted slogans against Maharashtra ministers who failed to come to Belagavi today. Heavy police security was provided by both Karnataka and Belagavi police in border area.
In a show of strength, pro-Kannada organisations on Tuesday staged a demonstration in Belagavi, the border town in the centre of a dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra, against a proposed visit of a ministerial delegation from the neighbouring state.
The Maharashtra-Karnataka border issue dates back to 1957 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 814 Marathi-speaking villages which are currently part of Karnataka.
With inputs from News18