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'Declare Belgaum, other disputed areas Union territory'

July 12, 2012 15:59 IST

The Maharashtra Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution demanding that the Centre should declare disputed areas of Belgaum and other boundary areas as Union territory till the Supreme Court takes final decision on the border row between Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan moved the resolution, condemning the "unconstitutional and unjustifiable" decision of the Karnataka government to dissolve Belgaum civic body despite a court stay, which was adopted unanimously.

The Centre should intervene and direct the Karnataka government to reinstate the civic body, Chavan said, adding that he would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue.

The state government is exploring legal opinion on moving the Linguistic Minorities Commission and court on violation of rights of Marathi speaking people in Belgaum, who are linguistic minorities in Karnataka, Chavan said.

The Karnataka government had ignored the court orders staying the earlier order of dissolution, asking it to hear the side of the corporators, he said.

The Centre should intervene and direct the Karnataka government to reinstate the civic body and convert the disputed areas of Belgaum and other boundary areas as Union territory till the Supreme Court takes final decision on the issue, Chavan said.

The last hearing was on July 10 and the Supreme Court had given eight weeks' time to Karnataka to respond, he said.

"I plan to hold a meeting of senior ministers and opposition leaders with lawyers in Delhi soon to discuss the further legal process," Chavan said.

Besides fighting the case in the apex court to settle the boundary dispute, the state government is planning to approach the Linguistic Minorities Commission and the court on the issue of atrocities against linguistic minorities, Chavan said. The regional branch of the commission is in Belgaum.

The resolution moved by Chavan was supported by Sudhir Mungantiwar (Bharatiya Janata Party), Madhukar Pichad (Nationalist Congress Party), Subhash Desai (Shiv Sena), Ganpatrao Deshmukh (Peasants & Workers Party), Bala Nandgaonkar (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena) and Abu Asim Azmi (Samajwadi Party).

The Maharashtra Ekikran Samithi (MES) controlled Belgaum City Corporation was superseded a week ago by the Karnataka government for the second time in about seven months, for allegedly violating the provisions of the Karnataka Municipal Act 1976.

On December 15, 2011, the corporation was dissolved for its "failure to perform duties" in accordance with the Karnataka Municipal Act.

Reacting to the development, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray had invoked President Pratibha Patil's Maharashtrian origin and asked her to dismiss the Karnataka government for being "anti-Maharashtra".

The MES had wants Belgaum city and 865 surrounding villages to be placed under Central government rule until the border dispute is resolved in the Supreme Court.

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