Home / News / India /  Karnataka-Maharashtra border issue: Not advisable for ministers to visit Belagavi, says CM Bommai

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has advised ministers of Maharashtra not to visit Belagavi because of the border dispute between the two states. "In view of the current situation between the two states over the border dispute, it is not advisable for the Maharashtra ministers to visit Belegavi," Karnataka Chief Secretary conveyed this through a fax message.

Maharashtra ministers are planning to visit Belagavi on 6 December. Therefore, CM Bommai has cautioned the ministers to avoid travelling to Belagavi.

“It is not appropriate for them to come when there is such a situation between the two states. We have already sent the message not to come. We will take the same action as the Government of Karnataka has taken when such attempts have been made several times in the past," the Karnataka chief minister said.

The Maharashtra government has directed Chandrakant Patil and Shambhuraj Desai to visit Belagavi to address the border issue. Chandrakant Patil and Shambhuraj Desai have been appointed as coordinating ministers for the Karnataka-Maharashtra border issue.

Patil and Desai's visit to Belagavi has been postponed to December 6. The meeting was scheduled to be held on December 3.

On the request of the Belagavi Ambedkar organization, their visit has been postponed and both will arrive in Belagavi on December 6, on the death anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar.

Belgaum or Belagavi is currently part of Karnataka but is claimed by Maharashtra. After the Karnataka-Maharashtra border dispute escalated, many untoward incidents took place in Belagavi.

During a cultural programme in Belagavi's Gogate College earlier, a student who danced with the Kannada flag was beaten up by his classmates, creating a tense atmosphere.

Yesterday, pro-Kannada organizations staged a roadblock on the highway in Belagavi. They set fire to tires and shouted slogans against Maharashtra. At present, the situation there is like an ash-covered pit.

Maharashtra, since its inception in 1960, has been entangled in a dispute with Karnataka over the status of Belgaum (also called Belagavi) district and 80 other Marathi-speaking villages, which are in the control of the southern state.

As per media reports, the long-running Karnataka-Maharashtra border dispute started back in 1953, after the Maharashtra government objected to the inclusion of 865 villages including Belagavi. The villages are spread across Belagavi and the north-western and north-eastern regions of Karnataka - all bordering Maharashtra. After the implementation of the State Reorganization Act, of 1956, the Maharashtra government demanded the readjustment of its border with Karnataka.

Following this, a four-member committee was formed by both states. Maharashtra government had expressed willingness to transfer Kannada-speaking 260 villages predominantly, but it was turned down by Karnataka. Now, both Karnataka and Maharashtra governments have approached the Supreme Court to expedite the matter. 

Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute: 

The Karnataka-Maharashtra border dispute is a perennial issue that surfaces almost every year, creating an atmosphere of sharp rhetoric and sub-nationalism on both sides.

The border dispute dates back to 1957 after the reorganisation of states on linguistic lines. Maharashtra laid claim to Belagavi which was part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency as it has a sizeable Marathi-speaking population. It also laid claim to 814 Marathi-speaking villages which are currently part of Karnataka.

Karnataka maintains that the demarcation done on linguistic lines as per the Act and the 1967 Mahajan Commission Report as final.

And, as an assertion that Belagavi is an integral part of the state, Karnataka has built the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, modelled on the Vidhana Soudha, the seat of legislature in Bengaluru, and a legislature session is held there once a year.

Parallel to the legislature session, the 'Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti' (MES), which has been fighting in the border areas of Belagavi for the merger of 800-odd villages with Maharashtra, holds 'Marathi Mahamelava', a show of strength in the border city.

The 800-odd villages are spread across Belagavi and the north-western and north-eastern regions of Karnataka - all bordering Maharashtra. Both Karnataka and Maharashtra governments have approached the Supreme Court to expedite the matter.

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