New Delhi: The vexed boundary issue
involving Belgaum was again in focus on Saturday with the
Maharashtra Chief Minister sticking to his demand for Union
Territory status for disputed areas and his Karnataka
counterpart denying even the existence of a dispute.
A delegation of Maharashtra Congress leaders, led by
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, met party chief Sonia Gandhi and
apprised her of the situation in the state in the wake of
flaring up of the boundary dispute with Karnataka.
They had already met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on
Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa told reporters
that "Belgaum is integral part of Karnataka. Mahajan
Commission report is final and needs to be implemented.
Maharashtra Government is creating confusion on the issue
On the other hand, Chavan said he was firm on his demand
for granting Union Territory status to an area comprising 865
villages in Karnataka which have a majority of
"The demand for UT status remains. But it was not raised
in the discussions with Gandhi," Chavan told reporters.
They wanted a team appointed by the National Human Rights
Commission (NHRC) to tour the disputed areas in Karnataka.
They alleged that Marathi-speaking people were being
"harassed" by the state government there.
Countering Maharashtra`s argument, Yeddyurappa said that
Marathi-speaking people living in Belgaum are "very safe and
there is no need for panic".
"Government will not allow any individual or institution
to disturb peace in the state", he said.
The Maharashtra-Karnataka boundary row came to the
limelight following the Central government`s affidavit in the
Supreme Court in late June that the disputed areas could not
be made part of Maharashtra merely because a majority of the
population there speak Marathi.
Karnataka state Congress President R V Deshpande,
however, disagreed with the demands of his own party leaders
from Maharashtra on Belgaum.