“Declare Marathi-Speaking Areas In Karnataka As Union Territory”: Uddhav Thackeray On Border Dispute

“Karnataka-occupied Marathi-speaking areas should be declared as a Union Territory till the Supreme Court gives its final verdict,” Mr Thackeray said.

Areas dominated by Marathi-speaking people on the state’s border with Karnataka should be declared as a Union Territory till the Supreme Court gives its final verdict on the issue, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray said on Wednesday.

The Shiv Sena chief, speaking at the launch of a book on the boundary dispute between the two states, slammed the neighbouring Karnataka government over alleged atrocities on Marathi-speaking population in those areas, and said there is a need to fight to win the case for their inclusion in Maharashtra.

Certain areas of Karnataka, including Belgaum, Karwar and Nippani, are claimed by Maharashtra, contending the majority of the population in these areas is Marathi-speaking.

The case over the dispute between the two states is pending before the Supreme Court for many years.

The Maharashtra CM, who has raked up the issue recently, said: “When the case is being heard in the Supreme Court, the Karnataka government renames Belgaum, declares it as its second capital, constructs a Legislature building and holds one legislature session there.”

He asked: “Isn’t this contempt of court?”

“Karnataka-occupied Marathi-speaking areas should be declared as a Union Territory till the Supreme Court gives its final verdict,” Mr Thackeray said.

“We have to learn from past experiences and fight to win. The Karnataka-occupied Marathi-speaking areas will be included in Maharashtra,” he added.

Targetting the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) for allegedly disintegrating and weakening the Marathi cause for selfish political interests, the Chief Minister said: “Earlier, the MES won half-a-dozen MLAs, Belgaum mayor used to be a Marathi-speaking person. The Shiv Sena never entered the political fray in Belgaum because it did not want to weaken the MES.”

A time-bound action plan needs to be charted out to win the legal battle and ensure the Marathi- speaking leadership and people in those areas of Karnataka remain united, Mr Thackeray stressed.

“Let’s take a pledge that we will not rest till we win. If the long pending issue is not resolved during this (MVA) government’s tenure, it will never be,” he added.

“In Karnataka, whichever political party’s government or chief minister take charge, they have one thing in common -atrocities against Marathi people and language,” he alleged.

Marathi people should also unite, Mr Thackeray said, adding that “let us be determined to win”.

NCP president Sharad Pawar, speaking at the occasion, said the Mahajan Commission was set up (by the Centre in 1960s) to study and arrive at a conclusion when (Maharashtra leader) Senapati Bapat began his hunger strike.

“The then Maharashtra chief minister Vasantrao Naik accepted the commission and agreed that its findings will be binding on the state. But, the commission was 100 per cent against Maharashtra,” Mr Pawar said.

“We (Maharashtra) rejected the commission’s findings. Barrister A R Antulay, the former CM, wrote a book dismissing the Mahajan Commission’s report. This book should find a mention in the new book (released on Wednesday),” he added.

The Supreme Court is the “last weapon for the state” and Maharashtra should use all its legal acumen to win the case, the NCP supremo said.

“We have to fight to win. There is no other option. It is good that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is taking a lead in this direction. Maharashtra needs to sink its political differences and show more unity in this case,” Mr Pawar said.

”Maharashtra-Karnataka Seemavad: Sangharsh Aani Sankalp” (Maharashtra-Karnataka boundary dispute: struggle and pledge) is a new 530-page book, compiled and edited by Deepak Pawar, an OSD in the state government”s boundary dispute cell. The book gives a detailed account of the issue.



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