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Jul 12, 2012, 07.17 PM IST
The vexed Belgaum issue flared up again on Thursday with Maharashtra Assembly adopting a resolution demanding disputed areas there be declared a Union Territory till a Supreme Court verdict on the boundary row involving Karnataka, which said it is a closed matter.
In a swift reaction, the new Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, in his maiden press conference after assuming office, rejected Maharashtra's demand, saying that the Belgaum region belongs to his state and that the matter was closed.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan moved the resolution, which condemned the "unconstitutional and unjustifiable" decision of Karnataka government to dissolve Belgaum civic body despite a court stay. The resolution was adopted unanimously.
"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," he added and said 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 the courts on violation of rights of Marathi-speaking people in Belgaum, who are linguistic minorities in Karnataka," Chavan said.
"The last hearing was on July 10 and the Supreme Court had given eight weeks time to Karnataka to respond," he said. Shettar saw "political background" to Maharashtra raking up the Belgaum boundary issue now and then.
"Belgaum is ours. It's ended matter(sic)," he said in Bangalore. Responding to questions at his press conference, he said Marathis and Kannadigas in the border district of Belgaum were living in harmony. Shettar maintained that Marathis living in Karnataka "are the happiest lot" compared to their counterparts in other states (other than Maharashtra).
"Marathis in Karnataka are safe and they have no fear in their mind living in this state," said Shettar, the third BJP Chief Minister in four years in Karnataka.
Tags: Belgaum, Maharashtra Assembly, Union Territory, Supreme Court, Karnataka, Jagadish Shettar, Prithviraj Chavan
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