Amid the raging border row, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai urged his Maharashtra counterpart, Eknath Shinde on Monday (December 5) not to send a ministerial delegation to Belagavi in Karnataka as their visit may instigate people and disrupt the law and order situation in the border district.
Maharashtra ministers Chandrakant Patil and Shambhuraj Desai are scheduled to meet the activists of Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) at Belagavi in Karnataka on December 6 and hold talks with them on the border issue. MES is a pro-Maharashtra organisation, which has been fighting in the border areas of Belagavi for the merger of 800-odd villages with Maharashtra.
The border dispute with Maharashtra is settled, but Bommai said he has gone ahead and instructed the police and revenue officials about the measures to be taken in case the ministers go ahead with the visit. Also, the government will not hesitate to take any legal action if anything untoward had to happen, he added.
Talking to reporters in Hubbali, Bommai said when the Maharashtra ministers said they will be visiting Karnataka, the state’s Chief Secretary (CS) wrote to Maharashtra’s CS stating that the ministers should not come in the present atmosphere, as it may create law and order situation in the state and their visit won’t be right.
Yet, despite the warning, the ministers have said they will visit Belagavi, which is not right, asserted Bommai. “There is harmony between the people of Karnataka and Maharashtra, at the same time there is a border dispute as well. The border dispute is a closed chapter according to Karnataka, but repeatedly Maharashtra rakes up the issue and has even gone before the Supreme Court,” Bommai added.
When the matter is before the Supreme Court, such acts and visits are provocative and will instigate the people. So, the Maharashtra ministers should not come, he said, adding he will once again make a request to Shinde in this regard.
As per the earlier schedule, the two ministers were supposed to visit Belagavi on December 3. Emphasising the government’s stand on the proposed visit of the Maharashtra ministers, Bommai said later in Bengaluru, “We are aware that any one is free to move anywhere in this country, but for maintenance of law and order, the government has powers to take certain action. I have already given instructions on measures to be taken for maintenance of law and order,” Bommai said.
Further, Bommai added he will request his Maharashtra counterpart saying that “these actions are not right, the border dispute is already settled, however, you have moved the Supreme Court, let us fight it legally. There is harmony between people of both states and no attempt should be made to disturb law and order here.”
The border dispute 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 sizeable Marathi-speaking population. It also laid claim to 814 Marathi-speaking villages which are currently part of Karnataka.
Karnataka maintains the demarcation done on linguistic lines as per the Act and the 1967 Mahajan Commission Report as final. And, as an assertion that Belagavi is an integral part of the state, Karnataka has built the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, modelled on the Vidhana Soudha, the seat of legislature in Bengaluru, and a legislature session is held there once a year.