Maharashtra minister and Shiv Sena leader Diwakar Raote claimed the Karnataka police stopped him from entering Belgaum district, where he wanted to take part in a protest organised by Marathi-speaking people.
Belgaum, which has a large Marathi-speaking population, has been the bone of contention between the two states since long.
There are more than 850 villages spread across Belgaum, Karwar, Bidar and Gulberga districts in Karnataka over which Maharashtra has been staking claim for the past six decades on linguistic grounds.
“Myself along with an MLA and other Sena leaders were stopped at the border of Belgaum by police and served a notice to not enter the area for three days. I had gone there as a representative of the Maharashtra government and not as a Sena leader,” Raote told PTI.
The protest was organised to denounce “atrocities” committed by the Karnataka government against Marathi-speaking people in Belgaum and adjoining areas, he said.
Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ today said party chief Uddhav Thackeray has asked Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to reach out to Marathi-speaking people in Karnataka in the backdrop of the controversial comments reportedly made by a Congress minister against the chanting of “Jai Maharashtra” slogan in the adjoining state.
Last week, Karnataka’s Urban Development minister R Roshan Baig had reportedly said in Belgaum that elected representatives found raising the slogan would lose their elected posts in the southern state.
Baig had also allegedly said the Congress-led Karnataka government intended to bring in a new legislation to check “anti-Karnataka activities” by elected representatives.