Belagavi tense as Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute triggers protests

Belagavi: Situation in the Karnataka-Maharashtra border turned tense on Tuesday, following protests from pro-Kannada and pro-Maharashtra activists.
Maharashtra ministers Shambhuraj Desai, Chandrakant Patil, and MP Dhairyasheel Mane were scheduled to visit Belagavi to attend various programmes on Tuesday.

Prohibitory orders were issued in Belagavi following the escalation of boundary row. Belagavi district collector issued prohibitory orders barring the entry of Ministers Chandrakant Patil, Shambhuraj Desai, and MP Dhairyasheel Mane. There were apprehensions that the ministers might deliver provocative speeches against Kannada or Karnataka government.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra leaders canceled their visit to Belagavi. Desai had told reporters that the visit has been postponed as they had to attend the Mahaparinirvan Diwas of Dr. B R Ambedkar on Dec 6.

Opposing the entry of the Maharashtra leaders to Belagavi, Pro Kannada organization Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (Narayana Gowda faction) organized a massive rally in Belagavi.

Belagavi police stopped the activists near the Hire Bagewadi checkpost. The enraged protestors started shouting slogans and allegedly pelted stones at the trucks with Maharashtra registration. They also painted black on the number plates and removed the air from the tires of the trucks.

The police took the protestors into custody and released them by evening.
In the afternoon the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) leaders arrived at Belagavi Deputy Commissioner’s office seeking permission for the entry of the Maharashtra ministers. As the DC refused to receive the memorandum, the activists staged a protest and also shouted slogans in support of Samyukta Maharashtra comprising Karwar, Belagavi, and Nipani of Karnataka.

In the evening the Shiv Sena leaders (Thackeray faction) of Maharashtra who were angry with ministers for cancelling the Belagavi visit staged a protest near the Koganolli checkpost. They wanted to enter the border but were stopped by the police there.

Sources said that the Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses with Karnataka number plates were painted black at Pune by pro-Maharashtra activists on Tuesday afternoon.

With the situation turning tense police have beefed up the security at the border. Additional forces have been deployed in the border areas. Vehicles entering Karnataka are being checked by the officials.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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