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Belgaum dispute: Bus services from Kolhapur to Karnataka suspended

KOLHAPUR: Bus services from Kolhapur district in Maharashtra to Karnataka have been suspended against the backdrop of the ongoing border dispute between the two states over Belgaum, a police official said on Sunday.

Maharashtra claims Belgaum, part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency, but currently a district of Karnataka, on linguistic grounds.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray earlier this month appointed ministers Chhagan Bhujbal and Eknath Shinde as co-ordinators to oversee his government’s efforts to expedite the case related to the boundary dispute with Karnataka.

The case is pending before the Supreme Court since many years.

The dispute escalated recently after certain remarks by a Kannada organisation against the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES), which has been fighting for the merger of Marathi-speaking villages of Karnataka into the western state.

In view of it, the state transport bus services from Kolhapur to Karnataka have been suspended, a senior police official said.

“All bus services from Kolhapur to Karnataka have been suspended since Saturday midnight as a precautionary measure,” he said.

The Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES), which has been fighting for the merger of 800-odd villages with Maharashtra, recently submitted a memorandum of their demands to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

According to reports in a section of media, some days back, Karnataka Navnirman Sena leader Bhimashankar Patil said MES leaders, who have been fighting for the merger of disputed border areas with Maharashtra, should be shot dead on the border between the two states.

Shiv Sena MP Dhairyasheel Mane, who represents Maharashtra’s Hatkanangale constituency, later condemned Patil’s remarks.

Thackeray recently raised the issue of the border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka over Belgaum in the state Assembly.

“The central government has taken Karnatakas side and ignored Maharashtra in the legal battle before the Supreme Court…it was going on for the last five years and everyone was kept in the dark,” Thackeray alleged during the winter session of the state Assembly in Nagpur.

Various Kannada organisations staged a protest in Belgaum on Saturday by burning the effigy of Thackeray.

The Shiv Sena has decided to hold a rally here on Sunday in protest against the act of Kannada organisations.

Source: Economic Times