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Karnataka govt prohibits entry of Maharashtra delegation to Belagavi district

After politicians in both Karnataka and Maharashtra made controversial remarks related to villages bordering both states, tension has been high in Belagavi.

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and his Maharashtra counterpart Eknath Shinde. (File)

The Belagavi district administration issued an order Monday prohibiting the entry of a delegation of ministers and elected representatives of Maharashtra from entering the district or Belagavi city.

The order came hours after Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai threatened legal action against the delegation of ministers scheduled to visit parts of Belagavi Tuesday, December 6.

Belagavi deputy commissioner Nitesh K Patil, in his order, said that the visit had the potential to trigger tensions among the Marathi-speaking residents of Karnataka as provocative speeches could be made by the delegation.

The Maharashtra delegation consisted of Higher and Technical Education, Textile Industry and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandrakant Patil, Excise Minister Shamburaj Desai, and MP Dhairyasheel Mane, who were earlier scheduled to visit Belagavi city and nearby areas on December 3. However, owing to the tensions in the district over the assault on a college student for carrying a Kannada flag, their visit was postponed.

The order came based on the recommendation of Belagavi city police commissioner and superintendent of police, who feared that the visit could trigger animosity between Kannada- and Marathi-speaking populations. Moreover, December 6 is considered a sensitive day owing to the demolition of Babri Masjid, the order noted.


Earlier in the day, Bommai told reporters he had requested his Maharashtra counterpart Eknath Shinde to cancel the delegation’s visit. “In case they come, I have issued directions to officials to take adequate legal action,” he said, adding that revenue and police department officials of the district have also been instructed to ensure that the law and order is maintained.

“Although people of the country are free to travel anywhere inside it, the state government has the right to take some action to maintain law and order,” Bommai said.

“Karnataka chief secretary has written to her Maharashtra counterpart saying that they (delegation) need not come in the existing environment (at Belagavi) as it could cause law and order issues… Yet, they have insisted on visiting the state. This is not the right move. This is not the right time to come,” he added.

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Maintaining that there was harmony between the people of the two states despite the border dispute, Bommai said the row was a finished chapter as far as Karnataka was concerned. “Yet, Maharashtra has raked up the issue repeatedly and has also approached the Supreme Court. When it is in front of SC, such provocative acts or tours in the region, is extremely (wrong) and will provoke people and they should not come,” he said.

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After politicians in both Karnataka and Maharashtra made controversial remarks related to villages bordering both states, tension has been high in Belagavi.

First published on: 05-12-2022 at 14:11 IST
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