Karnataka-Maharashtra border dispute spirals; MH trucks targeted, Ministers' Belagavi visit cancelled

The activists indulged in verbal clashes with the police at Hirebagewadi and many of them were hurt while trying to escape from the clutches of the police who were trying to stop them.

Published: 06th December 2022 06:42 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th December 2022 07:08 PM   |  A+A-

Trucks bearing the Maharashtra registration were stopped, smeared with black ink and pelted with stones.

Trucks bearing the Maharashtra registration were stopped, smeared with black ink and pelted with stones. (Photo | Special Arrangement)

Express News Service

BELAGAVI: The tussle between Karnataka and Maharashtra states over the boundary dispute between the two states took a violent turn on Tuesday as a large number of Kannada activists who were stopped by the police at Hirebagewadi toll plaza indulged in throwing stones at Maharashtra-registered vehicles and damaging them.

Belgaum or Belagavi is at its centre as Maharashtra has been claiming that this Marathi-majority area was wrongly given to Kannada-majority Karnataka in the language-based reorganisation of states in the 1960s.

Maharashtra, since its inception in 1960, has been entangled in a dispute with Karnataka over the status of the Belgaum district and 80 other Marathi-speaking villages, which are under the control of the southern state.

The incident occurred when the activists of Karnataka Rakshna Vedike, headed by its state president Narayanagowda tried to enter Belagavi via the Hirebagewadi toll plaza on Tuesday morning.

The activists were on their way to Rani Chennamma Circle, Belagavi, in protest against the possible arrival of two Maharashtra cabinet ministers, Chandrakant Patil and Shambhuraj Desai, to Belagavi. In spite of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai's appeal against entering Belagavi, the two ministers had issued statements that they would enter Belagavi on December 6. However, the two ministers decided against visiting Belagavi due to the escalating tension on the border and the pressure exerted by various Kannada groups and Bommai for the past few days.

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The activists indulged in verbal clashes with the police at Hirebagewadi and many of them were hurt while trying to escape from the clutches of the police who were trying to stop them.

Several Kannada activists were taken into custody by the police soon after the violence broke out at Hirebagewadi. The activists were released later in the day.

Police were deployed to calm the situation, but the protesters were seen jostling with cops and laying down on the road. (Photo | Express)

Speaking to media persons near Hirebagewadi, Narayanagowda said Belagavi had been an integral part of Karnataka and nobody could take it away.

He also lashed out at the police department for stopping Kannada leaders and activists from entering Belagavi and questioned the police as to whether they were ruling the state. He also questioned the way police assaulted the activists and said it was not fair of the police to attack Kannadigas.

"I will discuss the issue with Home Minister Araga Jnanendra on why the police did not allow us to enter Belagavi today. We are not visiting Maharashtra but the city which is in Karnataka state,'' he added.

Belagavi saw another case of violence over the border row around a week ago, at a college fest, when a student waving the Kannada flag was assaulted by some Marathi students. Teachers and other staff members of the host college at Tilakwadi in Belagavi intervened to stop the fight, followed by an inquiry which was conducted later by the police.

Another incident that took place was when activists from the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction sprayed black and orange paints on at least three Karnataka state transport buses in the Swargate area of Pune city.

They also wrote "Jai Maharashtra" on these buses. A local leader of the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) faction confirmed this.

(With inputs from Online Desk)



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