Maharashtra on Saturday made a strong plea to the Centre to declare Belgaum and other disputed boundary areas as an Union Territory in the wake of "repression by Karnataka on Marathi-speaking people" there.
An all-party delegation led by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this regard. The delegation, which comprised Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, also raised the issue of handing over Indu Mill land in central Mumbai for a memorial of B R Ambedkar.
The memorandum wanted the disputed boundary areas to be declared a Union Territory till the final verdict of the Supreme Court, in a case filed by Maharashtra, is delivered.
"Despite pendency of the suit in the Supreme Court and having filed its written statement there, the Karnataka government has resorted to several undemocratic and repressive measures by holding an assembly session at Belgaon, harassing the Marathi speaking people of border area, changing the name of Belgaum city to Belgavi," stated the memorandum.
"All of which have provoked the people of Maharashtra and Marathi speaking people in disputed area and triggered violence in both the states," the memorandum said, adding that recently the Karnataka chief minister has announced dissolution of the democratically elected Belgaum Municipal Corporation.
It said that a "wave of resentment and discontent has spread across Maharashtra due to this undemocratic and outrageous act of the government of Karnataka, causing injustice on the linguistic minority of Marathi speaking people."
It pointed out that both Houses of Maharashtra Legislature had passed an unanimous resolution on this issue and sought urgent intervention of the Centre to resolve the matter amicably.