Sena demands Union Territory status to disputed boundary area

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - 17:26

Pune: Shiv Sena working president Uddhav Thackeray Tuesday demanded Union Territory status for disputed
Maharashtra-Karnataka boundary area to "stop the atrocities"
allegedly being committed on Marathi-speaking people there.

"The disputed area should be declared a Union Territory
with immediate effect with deployment of CRPF to protect
Marathi-speaking people in Karnataka from police excesses," he
told reporters here.

On whether the measure advocated by him was
constitutionally valid, Thackeray said it was necessary to
find a way out and suggested forming a body on the lines of
Darjeeling Hill Council to give effect to the Sena demand.

Repeatedly asked about the constitutional validity, he
said, "We can also call the region as Karnataka-occupied
Maharashtra on the lines Pakistan-occupied Kashmir."

Replying to questions as to whether the boundary issue
was straining his party`s alliance with BJP in Maharashtra, he
said, "Breaking the saffron alliance is not the solution to
the problem. But I appeal to the BJP central leadership to
advise Karnataka Chief Minister to observe restraint in
dealing with Marathi population in that state".

The Maharashtra BJP leaders should also explain their
stand on the boundary dispute with Karnataka, he added.

Thackeray said demanding Union Territory status for the
disputed boundary area did not amount to dilution of Sena
stand on the issue as it is meant to be an interim arrangement
till the Supreme Court pronounced its order in the case.

"We want Belgaum to be separated from Karnataka first
and stopping of atrocities on the Marathi-speaking people at
the hands of police is the foremost priority for us," he said.

The Centre had shown greater sensitivity towards the
"Swatantra Telangana" agitation and was "turning a deaf ear to
the desperate cries of Marathis in Karnataka being mercilessly
beaten by police in that state," the Sena leader said.

To a question, he said Congress-NCP ministers from
Maharashtra in the UPA government should "show guts to resign"
protesting the Centre`s "unfair attitude" towards the state.

When his attention was drawn to the charge by MNS leader
Raj Thackeray that Shiv Sena MPs did not pursue the boundary
issue effectively when the NDA was in power, Uddhav denied it
saying they had taken up the matter with then Prime Minister A
B Vajpayee and Raj too was in the parent party then.

When he was told that Chief Minister Ashok Chavan too had
told the ongoing state legislature session today that he would
demand Union Territory status to the area, Uddhav said he was
happy to know that and welcomed the announcement.

"It is a late but right posture," he added.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - 17:26

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