Shiv Sena minister denied entry into Belgaum over march for rights of Marathi-speaking locals
Mumbai city news: Maharashtra transport minister Diwakar Raote was denied entry by the local policemumbai Updated: May 26, 2017 01:38 IST
Senior Shiv Sena leader and transport minister Diwakar Raote, who was leading a protest march against a ban on chanting pro-Maharashtra slogans in Belgaum, was denied entry by the local police along the Maharashtra-Karnataka border
Raote led a group of Sena workers to Belgaum to protest after Karnataka urban development minister R Roshan Baig made a statement that elected representatives who shout ‘Jai Maharashtra’ slogans would stand to lose their elected posts in Karnataka.
Raote, who left for Belgaum from Kolhapur on Thursday morning, was stopped at the border.
The Belgaum district collector and district magistrate had issued a ban on the entry of the a minister citing that it would lead to a law-and-order problem in the region. “I was not allowed to enter Belgaum district and was presented a notice that said there is a ban on entry for three days,” Raote told HT.
The border dispute over Belgaum between Maharashtra and Karnataka has been going on for many decades. Despite a majority of its population speaking Marathi, it is still a part of Karnataka. The dispute was reignited last week after the senior Karnataka leader’s statements in Belgaum. The state government has been fighting the border dispute case in the Supreme Court for nearly 13 years to get Belgaum and adjoining areas back from Karnataka.
Raote added that he wanted to go to Belgaum to show solidarity to the Marathi-speaking population in Belgaum and surrounding areas. “It is the responsibility of the state government to stand beside the people of Belgaum. I had gone there as a representative of Maharashtra. Had I visited as a Sena representative, I would have defied the order and entered the district,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sena has taken the opportunity to attack the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government. In an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, the Sena said that if chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is a “proud Marathi” he should reach out to the Marathi populace. Earlier in the week, Maharashtra revenue minister Chandrakant Patil wrote to the Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah, calling Baig’s statement “unconstitutional” and has also threatened legal action.