Tensions In Karnataka’s Belagavi Amid Border Dispute With Maharashtra

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Over a dozen government vehicles were damaged in stone-pelting in Belagavi last night

Bengaluru:

Large gatherings have been banned in Belagavi as the border dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra touched its latest flashpoint after a statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji in Bengaluru was smeared with ink on Wednesday night.

Pro-Maharashtra activists staged a protest last night at Sambhaji Circle in Belagavi, demanding arrest of those involved in the smearing of Shivaji’s statue with ink. The protest turned violent and over a dozen government vehicles were damaged in stone-pelting.

Also, freedom fighter Sangolli Rayanna’s statue in Belagavi was damaged last night, adding to the tension in the area.

“I have given instructions to police to take strict action against those who damaged Sangolli Rayanna’s statue here in Belagavi on Friday night. Strict action will be taken against those who smeared ink on Shivaji’s statue in Bengaluru. I appeal to the people, for the sake of politics, don’t insult legends like Shivaji Maharaj and Sangolli Rayanna,” Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said.

The build-up to the latest flashpoint began on December 13 when the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti – which has been demanding that Belagavi be integrated with Maharashtra – staged a protest outside the Assembly. The winter session of Karnataka Assembly is being held at Belagavi.

Soon after, members of pro-Kannada outfits smeared ink on the face of Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti Deepak Dalvi. Those accused in the incident were arrested thereafter.

In retaliation, the Kannada flag was reportedly burnt by supporters of the Samiti at Maharashtra’s Kolhapur on Tuesday. The next night, Shivaji’s statue in Bengaluru was smeared with ink. A video of a man pouring ink on the statue has now gone viral.

The Karnataka Assembly has decided to pass a censure motion against the burning of Kannada flag in Kolhapur and send it to the Maharashtra government, seeking action against those involved.

On the other hand, Sanjay Raut, senior leader of the ruling Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and the party’s MP in Rajya Sabha, has condemned the smearing of Shivaji’s statue.

Drawing a parallel with Prime Minister Narendra Modi invoking Shivaji at the Kashi Vishwanath temple corridor inauguration, he has said “our Maharaj is insulted in Karnataka”.

With tensions running high, the Karnataka government has imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 in Belagavi from 6 am on Saturday to the next morning. Security has been tightened and additional force deployed in sensitive areas.

There have been demands that Belagavi be merged with Maharashtra on the grounds that a large number of Marathi-speaking people live in the region.

Author: desi123

Desi123.com is an online news portal that aims to provide the latest trendy news for Asians living in Asia and around the World.

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