Home » The vexed Maharashtra-Karnataka boundary dispute flares up once again

The vexed Maharashtra-Karnataka boundary dispute flares up once again

by Raju Vernekar
0 comment 5 minutes read

By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Dec. 07:
 

The vexed Maharashtra-Karnataka boundary dispute has flared up once again with Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s recent comments, even as petition related to the dispute is pending in the Supreme Court (SC). 
In view of the violent agitation by activists, the state transport bus services from both sides were temporary suspended on Tuesday, inconveniencing the commuters.
 The dispute arose when Bommai, in one of his recent public meetings, staked claim over 40 odd villages in Sangli and Solapur districts of Maharashtra. The Karnataka also released water from Bableshwar dam into Tikondi lake located in Jat taluka of Sangli even without any requisition from the Maharashtra. The water was released on last Wednesday purportedly to “solve the paucity of water” in the area falling in Maharashtra.
 Bommai also said that the Maharashtra Ministers should not enter the Karnataka due to rising law and order situation. Due to this, two Maharashtra Ministers-Chandrakant Patil and Shambhuraje Desai, who were scheduled to visit Belgaum on December 03, cancelled their visit. 
In turn Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde spoke to Bommai and urged him to desist from escalating matter, Industries Minister Uday Samant told media. 
“Maharashtra Chief Minister Shri Eknath Shinde had telephonic discussion with me, we both agreed that there should be peace and law and order should be maintained in both the states. There is harmonious relation between the people of both the states, however there is no change in our stand as far as Karnataka border is concerned. And the legal battle will be pursued in Supreme court”, Bommai tweeted. 
“I’ve spoken with Bommai. He gave positive response. Our constitution provides everyone the right to live & work in any state. I will take this issue to Union Home Minister Amit Shah. I request people of Maharashtra not to react” Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Tuesday. 
NCP Chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday warned Karnataka to bring the situation under control  within 48 hours or else he himself will visit the state. Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray, NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal also chided the Shinde-Fadnavis led Maharashtra Government for succumbing to pressure from Karnataka and said that they were prepared to enter Karnataka anytime. 
The Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (Maharashtra) and Kannada Rakshan Vedike (KRV) (Karnataka) have been defacing/damaging the vehicles from each others’ state for the last few days. The KRV activists damaged some trucks on the Maharashtra-Karnataka border on Monday. 
In turn the activists of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction sprayed black and orange paints on at least three Karnataka state transport buses in Swargate area of Pune city. They also wrote “Jai Maharashtra” on these buses. The Pune city police Zone II detained 07 people in this connection. Besides, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers defaced several Karnataka state transport buses with black ink in  Sindhudurg in Konkan region.  
Vijay Devne and Sanjay Pawar belonging to Shiv Sena (UBT) were detained by Maharashtra Police when they tried to enter Karnataka from Kognoli in Kolhapur. 
Karnataka police
In another development on Tuesday, the MES members were taken into custody by the Karnataka police when they attempted to submit a memorandum to the Belgaum District Collector condemning a ban on Maharashtra ministers. The Belgaum Social Network (BSN) highlighted the issue and also posted a video on social media showing police action. 
Dispute
While Maharashtra stakes claim over 700 villages in Karnataka, 40 villages in Sangli,10 villages in Solapur have desired to get merged with Karnataka. Besides, 55 villages in Nashik have desired to get merged in Gujarat. Incidentally Karnataka and Gujarat are BJP ruled state, while Maharashtra has recently come into BJP fold following rebellion led by Eknath Shinde (erstwhile Shiv Sena). 
A demand to merge Belgaum, Karwar, Nippani and Bhalki and other areas (now in Karnataka) into Maharashtra is pending since long. After 1947, the Belgaum district of the former Bombay Presidency, became a part of Bombay state. In 1956, the State Reorganisation Act merged the Belgaum into the Mysore state. Thus the Belgaum with majority Marathi speaking people was merged with Kannada-majority Karnataka. In 1987, the Meher Chand Commission appointed by the Union Government, recommended the exchange of several villages between the two states, but rejected Maharashtra’s claim on Belgaum city.
The complaint from Maharashtra side is that no geographical contiguity was looked into while merging the villages. The Karnataka also does not give required benefits to Marathi medium schools. As per Article 350-A of the Constitution, it is mandatory for the states to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority. The attempts are being made to close down Marathi medium schools, MES founding president Kiran Thakur alleged.
 Compared to this, Maharashtra Government gives incentives to all linguistic minority schools and there are over 1000 Kannada medium schools in the state. They are given required incentives time to time.
Supreme Court
The petition related to the border row filed by Maharashtra Government was listed before the Bench headed by Justice K M Joseph in the SC on November 30. But it could not come up for hearing.

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