The Shiv Sena on Tuesday urged Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to step up offensive against the Karnataka government's decision to change Belgaum's name to Belagavi, to protect the interests of the Marathi-speaking people.
"Devendra Fadnavis has sworn to protect the Marathi speaking people. It is now his duty to safeguard the interest of Marathi 'manoos' wherever they reside, in or outside the state. This is why he (Fadnavis) should stand up and protest the decision taken by the (Karnataka) government," the Sena said in an edit in party mouthpiece Saamana.
The Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had on Sunday said that the Karnataka government had hurt the sentiments of Marathi-speaking people by changing Belgaum's name to Belagavi.
"Why were they (Karnataka government) in a hurry to change the name? They should have waited for a final decision by the Supreme Court on the disputed territory. We have been asking for a union territory status (for Belgaum) till the SC decides. It is our duty to appoint legal experts to represent the Marathi community's side in the apex court," Thackeray had told reporters in Kolhapur.
The Sena claimed that the Marathi-speaking people of the region hoped for justice from Prime Minister Narendra Modi after waging a 60-year-long struggle on the issue.
"The people of Belgaum have been struggling against the atrocities being committed by the Karnataka government from the last 60 years. They want the region to be a part of Maharashtra. People thought justice would be served to them by the Prime Minister but he instead extended his good wishes for the new name," the editorial said.
Belgaum is a disputed region on the borders of Maharashtra and Karnataka. Both the states claim stake to the region.