A tense situation prevailed in Belagavi district in Karnataka, which borders Maharashtra, as the members of Maharashtra Ekikarana Samithi (MES) gave a call for a bandh on Tuesday, December 14. MES is a party which has been demanding merger of Belagavi district with Maharashtra state The bandh call has been given to condemn the act of Kannada activists blackening the face of MES leader Deepak Dalavi on Monday, December 13. The incident happened when MES was organising an event in Belagavi, parallel to the winter Assembly session held by the Karnataka government.
On Monday, the MES party erected a podium in the Tilakwadi region in Belagavi. The police rushed to the spot and vacated the podium. There was an argument between the police and MES workers. Meanwhile, Kannada activists, who also reached the spot, blackened the face of Deepak Dalavi. The black paint also got sprinkled on former MLA Manohara Kini and others. The 'Mahamelav' event was organised without permission of the district administration, authorities said.
A tense situation prevailed and police arrested the Kannada activists on the spot. The police have also booked cases on the Karnataka Nava Nirmana Pade, Youth President Sampath Kumar Desai and three others at the Tilakwadi police station. MES party workers took out a rally from the spot to the Tilakwadi police station. The workers performed 'Ksheerabhisheka' (pouring of milk) on Deepak Dalavi later as a mark of respect.
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has condemned the incident and stated that these incidents won't be a setback for the movement aiming at merger of Marathi speaking regions in Karnataka with the state of Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, the police have denied permission to hold the bandh on Tuesday in Belagavi. Security has been tightened in the bordering city and in the vicinity of the Suvarna Soudha. This is not the first time that such an instance has been reported. Kannada activists had blackened the face of Vijay More, then Mayor of Belagavi City Corporation in Bengaluru in 2005 condemning a proposal taken up by the corporation at the time, for merger of Belagavi with Maharashtra.