Updated: January 20, 2021 8:01:11 am
Activist and leader of Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha, Vattal Nagaraj has landed in a fresh soup after he, along with members of his outfit, damaged display boards of the state highways department in areas situated close to the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border. The roads connecting the two borders are dotted with ‘Welcome’ and ‘Thank You’ boards, erected on behalf of Erode district and highways departments.
The incident in question took place near the Ramapuram area in Thalavadi hills of Erode district on January 10, as about twenty members of the outfit, led by the Nagaraj, tore off stickers which had welcome messages in Tamil. They then proceeded to damage the boards, raising slogans that the welcome messages be scripted in Kannada. They further claimed that Thalavadi belongs to Karnataka.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Nagaraj said “Thalavadi is Kannada land. I launched a protest in 1969, demanding that Thalavadi be annexed (from Tamil Nadu) and officially declared as part of Karnataka. The authorities here should put up Kannada boards. Not a single word (on these boards) is Kannada.”
“On January 10, we carried out protests during which we removed boards in English and Tamil,” he added.
With tension already prevailing in the area in the wake of the January 10 incident, fresh controversy erupted two days ago when a few more welcome boards were damaged by unidentified miscreants in the Ethukatti forest area. Boards lining the road connecting Pinapuram village in Tamil Nadu to Ottralli in Karnataka were wrecked. Police personnel from Thalavadi and Samraj Nagar inspected the area and are on the lookout for those behind the act.
Thalavadi inspector Anbaras said the police have registered a case against 20 people, including Vattal Nagaraj, for damaging the property belonging to the Tamil Nadu government. “The state highways department had put up boards in the area falling inside the Karnataka border. The name boards had been placed there to make them more visible to people entering or exiting the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border. Since the letters on them were in Tamil, this group of men were agitated and damaged the boards. As the area is within the jurisdiction of Karnataka police, we have transferred the case to them,” he said.
(With inputs from Darshan Devaiah)
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