Make disputed area a UT till SC settles issue, says Uddhav

“Karnataka’s actions amount to disrespecting court”

Updated - January 28, 2021 02:10 am IST

Published - January 27, 2021 04:20 pm IST - Mumbai

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. File

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. File

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Wednesday that the disputed border area between Maharashtra and Karnataka should be made a Union Territory until the matter was decided in the Supreme Court.

He said no matter what, the disputed part would be made a part of Maharashtra.

“Ideally, status quo must be maintained in an area under dispute and the case is being heard in the apex court. But Karantaka government has renamed it Belgaum, given it the status of second capital of the State and holds its Assembly session there. Doesn’t it amount to disrespecting the court?” asked Mr Thackeray.

He was speaking at the launch of a Marathi book on the ongoing conflict between the two States over the border area.

Mr. Thackeray said the disputed area was Karnataka-occupied Maharashtra and people there were actually living in Maharashtra. “We never hated Kannada as a language, but we will not tolerate Kannadigas hurting our Marathi brethren,” he said.

Maharashtra has been claiming that Belagavi, Karwar and Nipani belong to it as they are Marathi-speaking areas. The Karnataka government has opposed the assertion and the case is presently being heard in the Supreme Court. Shiv Sena has been raising the border district issue since its inception and has even conducted a number of agitations and protests in Belgavi. An umbrella organisation called Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti has been working in this area keeping the issue alive.

“The dispute has been going on for many years. At least till the time the matter is decided in the Supreme Court, why can’t it be made a union territory? Our government should be telling this in the court. We don’t want the Karnataka government meddling in the day-to-day affairs there,” Mr. Thackeray said.

“No matter which political party gains power in Karnataka, they work together. We have to stand together in this. If this government [Maha Vikas Aghadi] cannot do this, then no government can,” he said.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, who was also present at the event, said that after a prolonged exercise involving collection of evidence and making reports, the battle was now in its last stage. “The government needs to present its side firmly in the Supreme Court. I am sure that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will lead us there,” he said.

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