‘Impose Central rule in Belgaum till row resolved’

Both Houses of the Maharashtra Legislature on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution condemning the Karnataka government’s decision to dissolve the Belgaum City Municipal Corporation and demanded that Belgaum and the surrounding areas embroiled in a border dispute be placed under Central rule until resolution of the dispute in the Supreme Court.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: July 13, 2012 6:33 am

Both Houses of the Maharashtra Legislature on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution condemning the Karnataka government’s decision to dissolve the Belgaum City Municipal Corporation and demanded that Belgaum and the surrounding areas embroiled in a border dispute be placed under Central rule until resolution of the dispute in the Supreme Court.

While this is the second time in eight months that the Belgaum civic body was dismissed along with its Marathi-speaking mayor and deputy mayor,Thursday’s was also the Maharashtra legislature’s second such resolution since December 2011 and the 18th resolution on the border dispute since the 1960s. The Bharatiya Janata Party in the state supported Thursday’s resolution as well as the December resolution against the BJP government’s action in Karnataka.

Calling the Karnataka government’s action “illegal” and “unjust”,Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said in the Vidhan Sabha that the state government is prepared to show solidarity with the residents of the disputed areas who are a linguistic minority there.

“The voice of the Marathi-speaking people here,their platforms to seek redressal for their complaints,has been muzzled. It is the government’s opinion that the Constitutional rights of the linguistic minorities have been infringed,” said Chavan. He said the government was seeking legal opinion on approaching the National Commission for Linguistic Minorities,which incidentally has an office in Belgaum apart from the one in Calcutta. This would be alongside the state’s backing to a battery of lawyers appearing in the Supreme Court. “I will personally attend a meeting of these lawyers in New Delhi soon,” said Chavan. Following the last hearing in the apex court,the Karnataka government was given eight weeks to file its say.

Earlier this week,Mumbai Mayor Sunil Prabhu has pledged his support to dismissed Belgaum mayor Manda Balekundri after the Karnataka government superseded the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES)-controlled Belgaum corporation on July 3.

The MES wants Belgaum city and 865 surrounding villages to be placed under Central government rule until the border dispute is resolved in the Supreme Court. Balekundri and deputy mayor Renu Killekar have been travelling across Maharashtra ever since their dismissal to seek the support of Marathi-speaking leaders.

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