National

Marathis in Belgaum want the city to go to Maharashtra

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on July 16, 2019

Political winds in Maharashtra have taken a new turn with the decades-old issue with Karnataka over the control of Belgaum or Belagavi city resurfacing.

The cityin Karnataka on Maharashtra border, has a sizeable Marathi speaking population, which for years has pleaded that the city should be a part of Maharashtra. Their grouse is that they are unable to exercise their linguistic freedom and are discriminated.

The Shiv Sena, which shares power with the BJP in Maharashtra, has vehemently demanded for years that the city should be a part of Maharashtra. Some of the Shiv Sena leaders have built their political carriers on the border dispute.

On Monday, a delegation from the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (Unified Maharashtra Committee) from Belgaum met the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis seeking help and support for the Marathi-speaking people. Fadnavis assured that the State government will provide all the support to the affected people. The Maharashtra government will financially support the reopening of Marathi schools, which have been shut for some time, in the border areas.

Two ministers will be appointed by the State government to solve the problem and the Prime Minister will also be apprised of the situation.

However, BJP sources said the Belgaum issue is again being taken up to needle the beleaguered Kumaraswamy government, which would be facing a floor test in the Karnataka Assembly on Thursday.

It is also understood that the Maharashtra government has also committed to preserving the Marathi language in the region by broadcasting programmes through free-to-air service.

Belgaum city is also the regimental centre of Maratha Light Infantry Regiment, which has deep cultural connect with the Marathas in Maharashtra.

Published on July 16, 2019

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