'Won't let go of even an inch': CM Bommai on Belagavi border dispute with Maharashtra

The Karnataka CM was speaking in the Assembly over the recent defacing of Shivaji Maharaj and Sangolli Rayanna's statues and burning of a Kannada flag.
File photo of Karnataka CM Bommai
File photo of Karnataka CM Bommai
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The Karnataka Legislative Assembly on Monday, December 20, passed a unanimous resolution condemning the recent defacing of Chhatrapati Shivaji and Sangolli Rayanna's statues and burning of the Kannada flag, and said such incidents will be considered as an act of sedition and strict action will be taken against those involved under the Goondas Act. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who moved the resolution, clarified that there is no question of letting go even an inch of Karnataka's border, and said, if Kannadigas in parts of Maharashtra wish to join the state and pass resolutions in this regard, his government was ready for it.

He also announced that a statue of freedom fighters and icons Kittur Chennamma and Sangolli Rayanna will be installed at the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in Belagavi. "It is a clear stand of the government that Mahajan report is final on the border issue, still some individuals and organisations are repeatedly causing disturbance to peace and it is condemnable. This House unanimously condemns such acts and decides to punish the miscreants involved in it," CM Bommai said.

Reading out the resolution after his reply to the discussion on the issue in the assembly, he said, the House condemns the recent incidents of defacing of statues of Sangolli Rayanna and Shivaji Maharaj, burning of Kannada flag, insulting Jagajyothi Basveshwara, and such incidents will be considered as an act of sedition and strict action will be taken against those involved in accordance with law.

Stating that the details of these incidents will be brought to the notice of the Union Home Ministry, the Chief Minister said, "Karnataka government desires cordial relationship between the two states (with Maharashtra), but because of such miscreant activities there is disturbance to peace, and such miscreant activities needs to be controlled outside the state's borders as well."

“From here on such cases will be considered as an act of sedition and those inciting it will be booked under the Goondas Act", he further said, adding that "the House unanimously condemns the recent incidents and together resolute to see to it that such incidents don't repeat."

After the Chief Minister moved the resolution, Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri put it to vote and it was adopted unanimously.

The recent incidents of a Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) leader being smeared with ink, burning of Karnataka flag in Kolhapur in Maharashtra, and the defacement of Chatrapati Shivaji and Sangolli Rayanna statues had raised tempers in the border district of Belagavi, which Maharashtra claims should belong to it.

Earlier during his reply, Bommai said that Belagavi is an important border region with all the required resources for investments and a place of strategic impotence, and any attempt to create instability through violence is condemnable.

"Belagavi is Karnataka's second power centre and it will be part of Karnataka and Kannadigas until the Sun and Moon are there, and Suvarna Vidhana Soudha is a proof for it. There is no compromise on it," he said.

Further, pointing out that 40 Gram Panchayats in Jath taluk of Maharashtra that is drought prone with large Kannadiga population have passed a resolution stating that the government is unable to provide them water and are facing injustice, and want to join Karnataka, the Chief Minister said, protecting Kannadigas in Maharashtra is Karnataka's responsibility.

CM Bommai said Karnataka's DGP and Home Secretary have spoken to their Maharashtra counterparts on the incident relating to burning of Kannada flag there seeking strong action, and to ensure safety of Kannadigas' life and property. Bommai said that he would personally speak to the Maharashtra CM in this regard.

As many 26 people including the main conspirators behind those involved in defacing of Sangolli Rayanna statue have been arrested, also those behind defacing Shivaji Maharaj statue, he said. "We will make their names known after investigation," the CM added.

Earlier, participating in the debate on the recent incidents, Leader of opposition Siddaramaiah, former Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, state Congress President DK Shivakumar and JD(S) MLAs AT Ramaswamy and Annadani, among others, sought strict action against those involved in the incident.

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