Declare disputed Karnataka areas UT: Chavan

Maharashtra CM Chavan will ask Centre to declare disputed areas of Karnataka as Union Territory.

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

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.


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