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North Karnataka stir: Protesters unveil regional flag in Belagavi

Bengaluru Activists demanding a separate northern Karnataka state unveiled a flag on Tuesday at a protest in Belagavi

india Updated: Jul 31, 2018 22:53 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
North Karnataka,North Karnataka flag,HD Kumaraswamy
Protesters demanding separate statehood for 13 districts of north Karnataka unveil a regional flag in Belagavi on Tuesday.(HT Photo)

Bengaluru Activists demanding a separate northern Karnataka state unveiled a flag on Tuesday at a protest in Belagavi, despite the chief minister HD Kumaraswamy holding a meeting with some protesters in the state capital. The protesters have also refused to back down from their call for a bandh in the 13 northern districts on August 2.

The call for a separate northern state comes in the backdrop of allegations that the region was ignored in the Budget presented by Kumaraswamy on July 5. The call also found support from some MLAs of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including former MP B Sriramulu.

Crucially, the flag was unveiled even as former CM and BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa met the protesters in an attempt to convince them to back off.

Addressing the press, Yeddyurappa said: “The chief minister should have come here and met the seers and activists and assured them that developmental work would be undertaken...”

In Bengaluru, where CM Kumaraswamy met members of the Separate State Agitation Committee, he assured them of development. “Please consider me as one of your own,” he said. At the meeting, Somashekhara Kotambari, president of the committee, citing a report of the Nanjundaiah commission, which looked at regional imbalances in the state and submitted a report in 2002, said nothing had changed over the years because recommendations of the commission were never implemented.

Among the many problems listed was the difficulty of commuting to Bengaluru, which is located in the south eastern part of the state. Additionally, Kotambari said, healthcare and education infrastructure was worse than that available in the southern part. The CM said a deputy Lokayukta would be appointed whose office would be located in the Suvarna Soudha, the assembly building in Belagavi. He assured them other departments, would be shifted soon.

First Published: Jul 31, 2018 22:52 IST