Igniting the border row between Maharashtra and Karnataka, activists from Karnataka Rakshana Vedike blackened and removed signs written in Marathi at Belgavi on Friday. Visuals from Belgavi show activists blackening a restaurant's nameplate, 'Birayani' written in Marathi and other items written in Marathi. The border row reignited recently after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray promised to 'get back Marathi-speaking areas from Karnataka'.
Karnataka: Karnataka Rakshana Vedike activists blackened and removed signages and hoardings in Marathi language in Belagavi, yesterday. pic.twitter.com/b29zUCJpCT— ANI (@ANI) March 13, 2021
Crying afoul, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut asked CM Uddhav Thackeray and Dy CM Ajit Pawar to support Marathi people and visit Balagavi. Lashing out at the BJP, he said, " BJP & Centre are concerned about violence in West Bengal & that their people are being attacked. No one is talking about attacks on Marathi people for the last 8 days. I appeal CM, Dy CM to go to Belgaum with an all-party delegation, to support our people."
On 17 January, CM Uddhav Thackeray paid tribute to the martyrs of the border war, stating that bringing back the Marathi-speaking areas of Karnataka into the state was the only befitting tribute. Asserting his commitment to solve the 'border dispute', Thackeray added promised to fulfill it. Thackeray had reignited the regional issue in December 2019, when he referred to Belgaum as 'Karnataka-occupied-Maharashtra' in Assembly.
Retorting to Thackeray, Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa condemned his Maharashtra counterpart's statement sayng that his government would not even give an inch of land from Karnataka to the neighbouring state. Similarly, senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah slammed the Maharashtra CM for his statement and warned against instigating the people of Karnataka. Calling upon Thackeray to act in a responsible manner, the former CM made it clear that the people will never compromise or politicize on matters related to land, water and language of Karnataka.
The border issue involves a set of 800+ villages along with Belgaum district being claimed by Maharashtra as a part of the state on linguistic grounds. The Marathi-speaking majority district, which was previously a part of the Bombay presidency was given to Karnataka after independence. While several Maharashtra leaders including Senapati Bapat have fought for regaining Belgaum, the government-appointed Mahajan Commission awarded Maharashtra 264 villages including Nandagad, Nippani Khanapur in 1967, but let Karnataka keep Belgaum, while Kasargod went to Kerala. Later in 2005, the Maharashtra government filed a petition in the Supreme Court staking claim over Belgaum. The Supreme Court began its hearing on Maharashtra's petition on 17 Janu and is still being heard in the apex court.