Maharashtra wants disputed areas to be declared UTs for now

Written by Political Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: Jul 15 2010, 04:08am hrs
Expressing anguish over the Central governments affidavit in the Supreme Court negating Maharashtras claim over Belgaum and 865 villages of Karnataka, the Congress-led coalition government in Maharashtra on Tuesday proposed that the disputed areas be declared as Union Territories till the apex court delivered its verdict.

Chief minister Ashok Chavan, who is scheduled to lead an all-party delegation from Maharashtra to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday, demanded that the disputed areas be placed under the central governments control and status quo be maintained.

Commenting on the affidavit filed by the Centre, which said that the State Reorganisation Committee had observed a balanced approach, not an arbitrary one, and that it was not correct to say that certain areas were wrongly merged in Karnataka, Chavan said, Our agitation will continue till we get all the 865 villages in Maharashtra.

Reacting to the Centres stand that language was not the sole criterion but one of the four criteria, Chavan said, Language is not the sole criterion, but an important one. He pointed out that the reorganisation of states was done on four criteriavillage as a unit, geographical contiguity, linguistic and cultural homogeneity and the wishes of people. He said that Maharashtras demand was just, but the Karnataka governments hostile attitude towards pro-Marathi agitators was undemocratic.

The Karnataka government is trying to stifle the voice of Marathi-speaking people in the border areas Maharashtra cant be a mute spectator to all this, he said, claiming that the violence in Karnataka and persecution of Marathi-speaking agitators had brought to the fore the issue of human rights violation.

Referring to the law and order issue, the renaming of Belgaum as Belagavi and the Karnataka Assembly session held in Belgaum that was granted the status of second capital of the state, Chavan said that it was like adding salt to Maharashtras wounds.