The Shiv Sena on Monday said Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari should speak to his Karnataka counterpart in “strong words” about the alleged “atrocities” committed against Marathi-speaking people in Belgaum district of the southern state.
An editorial in Sena mouthpiece ”Saamana” also targeted Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi’s reported remark that Belgaum will continue to be a part of Karnataka till the sun and moon exist.
It said the boundary dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka (over Belgaum and other border areas) is pending before the Supreme Court, which will not pass its judgment looking at whether the sun and moon exist in the sky or not.
Maharashtra claims Belgaum, part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency but currently a district of Karnataka, on linguistic grounds.
On Sunday, Maharashtra cabinet ministers sported black ribbons to express solidarity with Belgaum’s Marathi-speaking people, who observe the foundation day of Karnataka on November 1 as “black day”.
The ”Saamana” editorial alleged that “brutal attacks” are being made on Marathi people, language, and culture in the areas concerned in Karnataka since the past 60-odd years, and the observation of ”black day” is a reaction to that.
It said except for the Belgaum dispute, the two states enjoy stronger social, cultural, and trade ties between them compared to other states, but the “brutal manner” in which Karnataka has been treating 20 lakh Marathi-speaking people there causes anger.
“The governor of Maharashtra should speak to his Karnataka counterpart in strong words about these atrocities. At least, he should try to help the Belgaum delegation get the appointment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” it said.
The editorial further said ministers like Savadi should not forget that lakhs of people hailing from Karnataka are doing business and living happily in Maharashtra.
Referring to Maharashtra ministers sporting black ribbons on Sunday, the editorial said had leaders of the BJP and other parties in the state joined the protest, it would have highlighted the states unity on the issue to Karnataka politicians.
Without naming BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis and Pravin Darekar, it said at least the leaders of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly and Council could have sported black ribbons to honour “sentiments of the people”.
The BJP is in power in Karnataka and if “atrocities” are being committed against Marathi brothers there, then the hearts of the party’s leaders in Maharashtra “must soak in tears”, the editorial said.
“Why it did not happen, only they know…it has been published that (Maharashtra BJP chief) Chandrakant Dada Patil said Belgaum and other villages of Marathi-speaking people must be incorporated in Maharashtra. Thanking Patil for saying that!” the Sena publication said.