KOLHAPUR: Shiv Sena activists burnt an effigy of Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and stopped screening of a Kannada movie in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur city on Sunday as the dispute over Belgaum flared up once again.
The state transport bus services from Kolhapur to Karnataka were also suspended from Saturday midnight as a precautionary measure, a senior police official said.
Maharashtra claims Belgaum, which has a sizable Marathi-speaking population, but is currently a district of Karnataka.
The decades-old dispute over Belgaum escalated 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.
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.
Various Kannada organisations staged a protest in Belgaum on Saturday by burning the effigy of Thackeray.
In retaliation, the Shiv Sena held a rally in Kolhapur city on Sunday.
Some Sena activists burnt the effigy of Yediyurappa at the central bus stand and stopped screening of a Kannada movie at Apsara Talkies.
The activists also blackened billboards,having Kannada text, of some shopkeepers in Gandhinagar area.
Sena MP Dhairyasheel Mane and former Congress MLA Satej Patil participated in the protest rally.
A large police force was deployed in the central bus stand area.
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, a Karnataka Navnirman Sena leader said that MES leaders should be shot dead on the border between the two states.
Thackeray recently alleged in the Assembly that the BJP-led central government was siding with Karnataka and ignored Maharashtra in the Supreme Court, where a case related to the dispute is going on.
Source: Economic Times