In a shocking turn to the Maharashtra-Karnataka border issue, Shiv Sena workers on Sunday, burnt effigies of Karnataka CM Yediyurappa in Kolhapur. Sources report that the Sena workers also stopped state transport buses from going to Belgaum. Moreover, the Sena vandals also stalled the screening of a Kannada film in a theatre Kolhapur.
MNS workers burn Uddhav effigies
Previously, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers had burnt effigies of CM Uddhav Thackeray in Belgaum, as per sources. The Maharashtra government has constituted a committee including ministers Chhagan Bhujbal and Eknath Shinde as co-ordinators to resolve border issues between the areas bordering Karnataka. This recent spate of violence comes after Thackeray's 'Karnataka-occupied-Maharashtra' comment.
On December 20, in a bizarre comment, the Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray questioned the Opposition BJP as to where they planned to rehabilitate Hindus migrating into India under the CAA. In the Assembly, Thackeray commented on the amended Citizenship Act which had caused protests across the country including Maharashtra. Thackeray has assured that 'Maha govt will protect everyone's rights' in the Nagpur Assembly.
"Like PoK, there was a Karnataka-occupied Maharashtra. People in Belgaum are not only Hindus but also Marathi-speaking people and wanted to be part of Maharashtra. However, they are facing oppression from the BJP-led government in Karnataka. Even for speaking the truth, the Belgaum mayor was booked for treason," he said in the Assembly.
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.
The Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti which was founded in 1948, protested and have recently submitted their list of demands and memorandum to Thackeray. 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 January 2007 and is still being heard in the apex court.