60% Kannada rule: Maharashtra to take MES delegation to PM | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

60% Kannada rule: Maharashtra to take MES delegation to PM

By, Belagavi
Feb 26, 2024 05:01 AM IST

On February 21, the MES delegation met Maharashtra minister Shambhuraj Desai and requested him to intervene in the matter

Belagavi: The Maharashtra government will soon take a delegation of Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, appealing him to instruct the Karnataka government against 60% Kannada language bill, said MES spokesperson Vikas Kalaghatagi.

Pro-Kannada outfits vandalised signboards and name plates which did not use Kannada last year. (PTI)
Pro-Kannada outfits vandalised signboards and name plates which did not use Kannada last year. (PTI)

Under the amendment, businesses approved by the government or local authorities, including trusts, hospitals, laboratories, amusement centres, and hotels, must allocate 60% of their signboard space to Kannada language information. The bill specifies that Kannada content should occupy the upper half of the signboard.

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On February 21, the MES delegation met Maharashtra minister Shambhuraj Desai, who is also the minister for Border Coordination, at Sahyadri Guest House in Mumbai and requested him to intervene in the matter.

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Kalaghatagi said, the minister assured of taking the delegation to Prime Minister where they can table the issues being faced by Karnataka government.

“The Marathis residing on the border of Karnataka and Maharashtra are undergoing mental torture with the implementation of Kannada everywhere,” the organisation’s spokesperson said, adding that even Marathi children are made to study Kannada from Grade 1.

The delegation also told the minister that nearly 60% of the population in 865 villages, on which Maharashtra has claimed its rights, do not follow Kannada language but they are being given documentation in government offices only in Kannada.

“Only Kannada language is being used in government offices which they would not understand. Therefore we asked Maharashtra government to free them from this compulsion,” Kalaghatagi added.

Apart from Desai, Maharashtra ministers Deepak Kesarkar and Chandrakant Patil who heard the grievances of the delegation told them that they would soon meet Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde and ask him to appeal to PM Modi to instruct Karnataka government not to implement any compulsion on Marathis in Karnataka until the border dispute in the Supreme Court is settled.

“As most of the Marathis wouldn’t understand Kannada, we also advised the ministers to ask CM Shinde to talk to his Karnataka counterpart Siddaramaiah to appoint officers who know Marathi to help Marathi people in government offices,” said MES office bearer Prakash Maragale.

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The delegation also asked the Maharashtra government to expedite a meeting of the advisory committee on border dispute following a reminder notice from the Union home ministry.

“Maharashtra itself took the border dispute to the Supreme Court in 2004. However the court has not yet declared whether the matter is to be taken or not for hearing. It’s all because of the negligence of Maharashtra. Compared to respondents Karnataka, Maharashtra is not serious. It’s our fate to tolerate mental agony from Karnataka,” said former independent legislator Manohar Kinekar who was elected from Belagavi (Rural) constituency with the support of MES.

Responding to the allegations, all the three ministers who heard the pleadings of the delegation said, the government would ask former Supreme Court senior public prosector Ashutosh Kumbakone, who has knowledge about the border dispute, to join the Maharashtra advocates’ team led by Vaidhyanathan who is the advocate on-record from Maharashtra. Advocate Shivaji Jadav is the prime associate to Advocate Vaidhyanathan.

The ministers also told the delegation that the government would appoint an advocate who can attest the documentations of the witnesses which could help the state in pleading the border dispute.

ALSO READ- Karnataka assembly passes bill for 60% Kannada on signboards

Since the Union home minister Amit Shah formed the Coordination Committee of Border Dispute in October 2022, no meeting has been held. The delegation urged the ministers to ask Karnataka government to reform the committee and soon hold meetings at least once in three months. After the government in Karnataka changed in May last year, the committee has not been reformed.

“To maintain the existed status-quo, the committees of both the states must ensure no new implementation on each others until the dispute is settled in the Supreme Court,” Kinekar said.

As the tussle between both the states was on rise, Shah held a meeting of chief ministers of Maharashtra Eknath Shinde and Karnataka former chief minister Basavaraj Bommai at Delhi in 2022 under whose presence both the states had formed the three-member committees headed by the chief ministers.

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