Declare disputed Karnataka areas UT: Chavan
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Last Updated: Tuesday, July 13, 2010, 18:23
Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on Tuesday demanded the Centre to make 865 Marathi-speaking villages of Karnataka an Union Territory till the Supreme Court settles the border dispute between the two states.

"The 865 Marathi-speaking villages in Karnataka should be declared as an Union Territory until the issue is settled in the Supreme Court," Chavan told the Legislative Council during a discussion on the Maharashtra-Karnataka border row.

Chavan, who would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tomorrow in Delhi with an all-party delegation would make the request to him.

"There is no option other than making the villages an Union Territory and we would request the prime minister to cooperate with us on the issue," Chavan said.

Defending his demand for the Union Territory, Chavan said the Karnataka Government is changing the names of the villages and there is a threat to the law and order situation in the region and biased treatment are being meted out to Marathi people there.

Chavan asked the Opposition BJP to intervene into the matter as the party is ruling in Karnataka.

"There is no question of backing from the Supreme Court, but your (BJP) Government is ruling there (Karnataka) and I am ready if the issue can be sorted out with consensus," Chavan said.

The Centre, in reply to Maharashtra's claim over Karnataka's Marathi-speaking districts like Gulbarga and Belgaum, had told the Supreme Court last week that language can't be the only criteria for deciding state boundaries.

However, the Centre's stance has led to a flurry of protests in Maharashtra as well as border areas of Karnataka, following which the Supreme Court yesterday allowed the Maharashtra government to file an amended application to challenge the validity of the State Re-organisation Act.

Rejecting the recommendations of the Mahajan Commission, which was constituted by the Centre on 1966 to settle the long-pending border dispute, Chavan said it recommended inclusion of only 265 villages in Maharashtra while the state is demanding 865.

The government has not accepted the report and information has been submitted to the Supreme Court on this, he said.

PWP leader Jayant Patil moved an adjournment motion in the Council demanding discussion on the border row. He alleged that Congress is doing injustice with Maharashtra since the state's creation in 1960.

Shiv Sena leader Diwakar Raote said the affidavit on the Maharashtra-Karnataka border issue filed by the Centre in the apex court is not in favour of Maharashtra.

He also condemned the lathicharge by Karnataka Police yesterday on Marathi-speaking people in Belgaum, who were protesting the Centre's affidavit in the Supreme Court on the Belgaum border row.

The Maharashtra-Karnataka border issue also figured in the Legislative Assembly leading to two adjournments of the Lower House.

NCP MLA Jitendra Avhad condemned the lathicharge by Karnataka Police on Marathi-speaking people in Belgaum. The ruling party members trooped into the well, condemning the Karnataka Government.

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Eknath Khadse (BJP) demanded that along with Karnataka Government, the Centre's stand should also be condemned.

The House was adjourned for 10 minutes to express solidarity with Marathi people in Karnataka.

Later, the Opposition members also got into the well, raising banners and shouting slogans against the Centre and demanding inclusion of Marathi-speaking Karnataka villages in Maharashtra. The House was adjourned for 20 minutes.


First Published: Tuesday, July 13, 2010, 18:23

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