Belagavi border row: Pro-Kannada groups burn effigy of Maha CM Uddhav Thackeray

Prime News, State (Bengaluru), January 18:- The decades-long border dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra was reignited on Sunday after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray made a controversial statement, leading to protests in Karnataka, and denouncements from political leaders. Pro-Kannada groups on Monday launched protests in Belagavi and Bengaluru after Uddhav Thackeray declared that his government is “working towards” incorporating Marathi-speaking areas in Karnataka, into Maharashtra. Uddhav Thackeray’s statement also drew the ire of Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and other leaders in the state, who accused him of “planting the seeds of hatred” among people living in the border areas.

What Maharashtra’s leaders said

“Bringing back all the Marathi-speaking and culturally Maharashtrian areas that have been occupied by Karnataka back into Maharashtra is the only tribute to those who have attained martyrdom in the border dispute fight. We are united and committed to this cause. We bow down to the martyrs with this promise,” the Maharashtra CMO tweeted.

The border dispute between the two states over the district of Belagavi is not new, reappearing every few years. On Monday, Maharashtra Minister for Urban Development and Public Works, Eknath Shinde said that Marathi-speaking regions were “unjustly snatched from Maharashtra” in 1956 when states were reorganised based on languages in India.

“In 1956, several Marathi-majority regions were snatched away unjustly from Maharashtra and ever since the fight has been going on to include them into our state. Every year on January 17, we celebrate Martyrs Day to commemorate those who fought for this cause and died. We will continue to fight for it,” Eknath Shinde said.

Protests in Karnataka

Angered by the Maharashtra Chief Minister’s statement, pro-Kannada groups gathered at Channamma Circle in Belagavi City and launched a protest against Uddhav Thackeray’s remark. Members of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike held up an effigy of Uddhav Thackeray on a deathbed and paraded it across the streets while shouting, “We will fight till the end.”

Soon after Shinde’s statement, Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha chief Vatal Nagaraj held a protest in Bengaluru’s Mysuru Bank Circle against Uddhav Thackeray’s statement. Karnataka Rakshana Vedike Chief Praveen Shetty too held a press conference and condemned the statements from the leaders from Maharashtra.

“Kannadigas will not fold their hands and sit quietly. It is not possible for any fool to occupy even an inch of our land. Kannadigas are strong in Karnataka so set your dreams aside. If you even attempt to overtake three of our districts, you will witness the bloodshed of thousands of Marathis,” Praveen Shetty said. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).

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