Karnataka CM rejects Maharashtra's demand on Belgaum



Bangalore: Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Thursday rejected Maharashtra's demand for declaring disputed border areas of Belgaum as a Union Territory till the Supreme Court takes a final decision on the row between the two states, saying the region belongs to his state and the issue is a "closed chapter".

Shettar saw "political background" to Maharashtra raking up the Belgaum boundary issue now and then. "Belgaum is ours. It's ended matter (closed chapter)," he told reporters here.

Responding to questions at his maiden press conference after being sworn in as chief minister, he said Marathis and Kannadigas in the border district of Belgaum were living in harmony.

He maintained that Marathis living in Karnataka "are the happiest lot" compared to their counterparts in other states (other than Maharashtra). "Marathis in Karnataka are safe and they have no fear in their mind living in this state."

Earlier in the day, the Maharashtra Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution, moved by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, condemning the "unconstitutional and unjustifiable" decision of the Karnataka Government to dissolve Belgaum civic body despite a court stay.

It demanded that the Centre declare disputed areas of Belgaum and other boundary areas as Union territory till the Supreme Court takes a final decision on the border row.

Shettar said the decision to dissolve the civic body was in accordance with law.

PTI