Mumbai: The police action against Marathi-speaking people at Yellur in Karnataka has prompted protests by political parties in Maharashtra, with the Shiv Sena calling it as an act of “terror” and seeking Centre’s intervention in the “disputed” region.
“It is the reign of goondas. Even we can do this goondagiri but we won’t do that. We demand that the Centre immediately declare the border area in Karnataka where 20 lakh Marathi-speaking people live, as centrally administered region and appoint a central representative as administrator,” Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut told reporters.
“Brutal atrocities are going on in Belgaum against Marathi-speaking people merely over removal of a board. Is this the rule of law?” Raut, a Rajya Sabha MP, said after a meeting of the Shiv Sena-BJP-led “mahayuti” (grand alliance) passed a resolution condemning the “assault” by Karnataka police.
Earlier, an editorial in Sena mouthpiece “Saamana” described Sunday’s police action at Yellur in Belgaum district as an act of “terrorism” and sought the Centre’s intervention.
“In Modi, we have a strong Prime Minister and in Rajnath Singh, we have got a strong home minister. The Marathi speaking population in the border area has great expectation from them. If Karnataka police are indulging in terror against Marathi-speaking people, it is the responsibility of the Central government to curb this terrorism. We are making this appeal to the central government because those ruling Maharashtra are incompetent,” the editorial said.
Police had on Sunday lathicharged a group of pro-Maharashtra supporters who threw stones at them at Yellur after a “Maharashtra Rajya” plaque re-erected by them was removed by the district administration.
Pro-Maharashtra supporters had on Saturday re-erected a controversial signboard at Yellur after the previous one was razed to the ground by public works department on Friday following a high court order.
“All political parties blasted the Maharashtra Sadan force-feeding issue. Will they show the same zeal in condemning this injustice to Marathi-speaking people of Karnataka,” Saamana editorial said.
“Why is the Congress silent on this matter? When BJP’s Yeddyurappa was the chief minister, they used to raise their voice on the issue but they haven’t done so now,” leader of opposition in the state legislative council Vinod Tawde said.
“We will ask the Centre to take necessary steps keeping in view the assault and likely such assaults in future,” he said. MNS chief Raj Thackeray put the onus on the Narendra Modi government.
“It is unfortunate that the Centre is silent on the issue. BJP has a majority at the Centre. The BJP MPs should convey the sentiments of the Marathi-speaking people in border areas,” he said, adding, “Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan is not serious on this matter.”
“When Raj Thackeray speaks something, all pounce on him but when such a thing happens in Karanataka, no one speaks,” the MNS chief said.