Tension in Belagavi, Karnataka amid border dispute with Maharashtra, Section-144 imposed

Large gatherings were banned in Belagavi.

Bangalore:

Amid tensions over the border dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra, ink was thrown at a statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji in Bengaluru on Wednesday night, following which large gatherings were banned in Belagavi due to tension. In view of the rising tension, the Karnataka government has imposed Section 144 in Belagavi from 6 am on Saturday morning to the next morning. Security has been tightened and additional forces have been deployed in sensitive areas. Let us tell you, there has been a demand to merge Belagavi with Maharashtra on the basis that a large number of Marathi speaking people live in this area.

Pro-Maharashtra activists protested in Belagavi’s Sambhaji Circle last night and demanded the arrest of those who threw ink on Shivaji’s statue. The protest turned violent and over a dozen government vehicles were damaged in stone pelting.

Also, a statue of freedom fighter Sangoli Rayanna in Belagavi was damaged last night, adding to the tension in the area.

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Karnataka Home Minister Araga Gyanendra said, ‘I have instructed the police to take strict action against those who damaged the statue of Sangoli Rayanna in Belagavi on Friday night. Strict action will be taken against those who throw ink on Shivaji’s statue in Bengaluru. I appeal to the people not to insult stalwarts like Shivaji Maharaj and Sangoli Rayanna because of politics.

Tension in the dispute escalated when the Maharashtra Integration Committee staged a protest outside the assembly on 13 December. There is a demand of this committee that Belagavi should be integrated with Maharashtra. Let us tell you, the winter session of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly is being held in Belagavi. After this, members of pro-Kannada organizations smeared ink on the face of Deepak Dalvi of Maharashtra Integration Committee, after which the accused were arrested.

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Then on Tuesday, the Kannada flag was allegedly burnt by the supporters of the committee in Kolhapur, Maharashtra. The next night, ink was thrown at the statue of Shivaji in Bangalore. A video of a man pouring ink on the idol has gone viral.

The Karnataka Assembly has decided to pass a resolution condemning the burning of the Kannada flag in Kolhapur and send it to the Maharashtra government, demanding action against those involved.

On the other hand, senior leader of Shiv Sena ruling in Maharashtra and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut has condemned the desecration of Shivaji’s statue.

He tweeted and wrote, ‘While on one hand PM Modi respected Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in Kashi, on the other hand our Maharaj was insulted in Karnataka. These scenes are from Bengaluru in BJP-ruled Karnataka. We strongly condemn this.

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