Amid an escalating war of words between the Maharashtra and Karnataka governments over their respective claims to the Belagavi region, Sanjay Raut, leader of the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena, on Wednesday said that they would enter Karnataka “like China entered the country”.
“Even their (BJP’s) government sitting in Delhi claims they will not allow China to take even an inch of land, but China has still come inside. We will also enter (Karnataka). We do not require anybody’s permission,” Raut said while speaking to reporters on Wednesday.
The Uddhav Sena leader, who was recently released on bail following his incarceration in the Patra Chawl land scam case, came down heavily on the Maharashtra government, terming it weak and incompetent.
“We believe that the country is one and this matter can be resolved through dialogue. But the Karnataka CM is deliberately adding fuel to the fire. It is because Maharashtra has a weak government in place that refuses to take a stand. If the chief minister and deputy chief minister of the state refuse to take a stand on an issue that has seen the sacrifice of over 100 people, people like Bommai are bound to raise their voices and talk down to us,” Raut said.
Raut, however, added that they do not harbour any animosity or ill will against the government or the people of Karnataka and their stand is against the injustice and atrocities being faced by the people of the region. “We do not have any personal animosity with the Karnataka government or the people of the state. This a 70-year-old matter. This is an issue of humanity. People are being subjected to injustice and atrocities. We are raising our voice against it,” Raut said.
Will not cede an inch of land to Maharashtra: Karnataka Assembly
On Tuesday, the Karnataka legislature reiterated the state’s stand that the border issue is a settled one, and not an inch of land will be given to the neighbouring state. During a debate on the border dispute in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, CM Bommai suggested that a unanimous resolution be passed in both Houses of the state legislature reiterating and asserting the stand.
Reacting to the CM’s suggestion, the Maharashtra government has said it can respond in the same coin. Maharashtra minister Shambhuraj Desai today said that if the Karnataka Chief Minister does not stop making irresponsible statements, Maharashtra will have to rethink about water supply from its dams to the neighbouring state.
“When the case is sub-judice, a chief minister using such threatening language is not good and he should stop it… Even Maharashtra can reply in the same language and he should not provoke us,” Desai said.
Belagavi region peaceful, says Karnataka police
The Karnataka Police has said that the Karnataka-Maharashtra border region, which has been witnessing a series of agitations since the first day of legislature session, is now peaceful. “There’s absolutely peace in the border district of Belagavi. Vehicular movement between the two states is normal and there is nothing to worry about,” a senior police official told PTI.
Barricades have been put up on the bridge connecting Belagavi in Karnataka with Maharashtra as a precautionary measure and police personnel deployed at the vaccine depot ground in Tilakwadi, where the Madhyavarti Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MMES) was planning to stage a demonstration on December 19, police added. The MMES wanted the leaders from Maharashtra to attend their event aimed at building pressure on Karnataka government to merge Belagavi with Maharashtra.