Karnataka-Maharashtra border row: MES Shiv Sena (UBT) stage protest demanding merger of Marathi-speaking areas

The MES has been demanding the merger of several Marathi-speaking areas and villages of Karnataka with Maharashtra.

BySouth First Desk

Published Dec 04, 2023 | 6:27 PMUpdated Dec 04, 2023 | 6:29 PM

Karnataka-Maharashtra border row: MES Shiv Sena (UBT) stage protest demanding merger of Marathi-speaking areas

Members of the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES), in association with Shiv Sena (UBT), held a protest at Shinoli in the Kolhapur district of Maharashtra on the opening day of the Karnataka Assembly’s winter session being held in Belagavi on Monday, 4 December.

The MES has been demanding the merger of several Marathi-speaking areas and villages of Karnataka with Maharashtra.

“We could not hold a demonstration at Belagavi because the police denied us permission but we did stage a protest at Shinoli in Maharashtra,” MES convener Suraj Kanbarkar said.

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The protests

The protesters raised pro-Maharashtra slogans and demanded that the ongoing Assembly session at the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in Belagavi, where the government holds winter sessions, bordering Maharashtra, be stopped immediately.

They also appealed to the Centre to intervene and take steps for the merger of Belagavi district and certain regions in its neighbouring districts in Karnataka with a substantial Marathi population with Maharashtra.

Meanwhile, various organisations, including Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha led by Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, Safai Karmachari, Mundargi Horata Samithi and a teachers’ association,  are staging protests in Belagavi to highlight their demands.

In view of the session in progress, Section 144 of the CrPC has been clamped at least one kilometre around the ‘Suvarna Vidhana Soudha’. At least 5,000 policemen have been deployed in and around ‘Suvarna Vidhana Soudha’.

Also read: ‘Maharashtra should stand with Marathi-speaking areas of Karnataka’

The border issue

The border issue dates back to 1957 when states were reorganised on linguistic lines. Maharashtra laid claim to Belagavi, which was part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency, as it has a significant Marathi-speaking population. It also laid claim to the over-800 Marathi-speaking border villages that are currently a part of Karnataka.

Karnataka maintains that the demarcation done on linguistic lines as per the States Reorganisation Act and the 1967 Mahajan Commission Report is final.

In an assertion about Belagavi being an integral part of the State, Karnataka built the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in Belagavi, modelled on the Vidhana Soudha, the seat of the State Legislature and Secretariat, in Bengaluru.

In December last year, the then-chief minister Basavaraj Bommai said that the state government would pass a resolution to convey to Maharashtra that the border dispute is a closed chapter and that the border demarcated under the State Reorganisation Act, 1956, is final.

However, on 27 December, 2022, the Maharashtra Assembly passed a unanimous resolution that Belgaum, Nippani, Karwar, Bidar, and Bhalki cities with 865 Marathi-speaking villages of Karnataka would be made part of Maharashtra. The resolution also said that the Maharashtra government would pursue legal proceedings in the Supreme Court.

(With PTI inputs)