Reigniting the border war between Karnataka and Maharashtra, separatist CM Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday, 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.
Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti, a regional organisation fighting for the merger of Belgaum and some other border areas with Maharashtra, observes January 17 as the ‘martyrs’ day’ for those who laid down their lives for the cause in 1956.
“Bringing Karnataka-occupied Marathi-speaking and cultural areas in Maharashtra will be the true tribute to those who accepted martyrdom in the boundary battle. We are united and committed towards it. Respects to the martyrs with this promise,” the CMO tweeted.
Maharashtra claims certain areas, including Belgaum, Karwar and Nippani which are part of Karnataka, contending that the majority of population in these areas is Marathi- speaking. The dispute between the two states over Belgaum and other border areas is pending before the Supreme Court for many years.
“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.
Later Shiv Sena workers burnt effigies of Karnataka CM Yediyurappa in Kolhapur, stopped state transport buses from going to Belgaum and stalled the screening of a Kannada film in a theatre Kolhapur.
It is funny how low Shiv Sena has to stoop in order to maintain its voter base. So low that it is ready to create a divide amongst the people of its own country on the basis of language and region.