Maharashtra-Karnataka Dispute: Unrest in Belagavi Days After Shah Plays Pacifier

Fresh protests broke out in Karnataka's Belagavi by a pro-Maharashtra outfit, leading to many being detained.

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Just days after Union Home Minister Amit Shah met with chief ministers Eknath Shinde and Basavaraj Bommai to pacify tensions between Maharashtra and Karnataka over the resurged border dispute between the two states, fresh protests broke out in Karnataka's Belagavi on Monday, 19 December by a pro-Maharashtra outfit, leading to several being detained.


What happened? Members of the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES), a pro-Maharashtra political outfit in Belagavi, were detained over allegedly breaching Section 144 for holding an event at the Lele Ground in Shivaji Colony area. It is routine for MES members to hold a congregation on the first day of the Karnataka Assembly session being held in Belagavi to protest against the town being treated as the 'second capital' of the state despite being 'disputed'.

Members of the MES, along with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) workers from Satara and Sangli, who were traveling for the event, were stopped at the Kognoli Toll Plaza near the border, following which they staged protests there.

Why was the event being held? "They treat Belagavi as the second capital of the state. We always hold this congregation ahead of the Assembly session not just to protest, but to send out a message that we disapprove of it. But the police imposed Section 144 and detained our people," Gunwant Patil, a functionary of the MES told The Quint.

"About 40 people have been taken into custody so far, including seven-eight women," he added.


Was permission sought for the event? On asked whether permission was sought from the police for the event, Patil said: "They never give us permission when we ask for it, but we have held the congregation several times in the past. We do it peacefully, we make speeches and leave."

"It was not a protest, it was an event. There are a few people who make speeches, and everybody leaves," he said.

What happened in the Maharashtra Assembly? Meanwhile, Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena (Shinde faction) MP Dhairyasheel Mane was allegedly banned by the Belagavi district authorities from entering the state citing law and order issues. Mane was recently appointed the chief of the committee formed by the Maharashtra government regarding the writ petition in the Supreme Court on the border dispute.


What did Maharashtra CM say? Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde and deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis condemned the ban on Mane and the action against MES workers.

"Let's not forget how the MVA government rolled back schemes for Marathi-speaking people in Belagavi. We brought them back within four months of coming to power," said Shinde while responding to Pawar during the Assembly session.

"For the first time, the Home Minister has mediated in the dispute. There should be no politics on this issue now. We should stand together with the residents of the border areas," he said.

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Topics:  Maharashtra   Devendra Fadnavis   KARNATAKA 

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