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6 Maharashtra trucks attacked on their entry in Karnataka, hundreds of Kannada Rakshana Vedike activists arrested for pelting stones at vehicles

Over 400 Kannada Rakshana Vedike activists travelled from Dharwad to Belagavi on nearly 100 vehicles to stage protests amid the ongoing Maharashtra-Karnataka border issue

On Tuesday, the ongoing border issue between Maharashtra and Karnataka escalated as six trucks ferrying goods from Maharashtra were attacked by members of Kannada Rakshana Vedike upon entering Karnataka via Belagavi district. Around 400 Vedike activists protested and pelted stones at the vehicles near Hirebagewadi, some 24 kilometres from Belagavi.

This follows the Karnataka government’s orders prohibiting the Maharashtra ministry delegation from entering the state. After the violence, the Karnataka officers arrested Karnataka Rakshana Vedike president Narayan Gowda, and hundreds of other workers. The activists clambered onto the trucks and chanted anti-Maharashtra slogans. They also removed the license plates of the vehicles and painted them black.

The protesters meanwhile also climbed on the police vehicles and waved Kannada flags as they shouted slogans against the Maharashtra Ministers. According to the reports, the Karnataka Police banned Kannada activists from entering Belagavi city to preserve law and order as Maharashtra ministers cancelled their visit to the state.

The activists then staged a protest at the Hire Bagewadi toll gate after police denied them to permit entry into Belagavi. Over 400 Vedike activists travelled from Dharwad to Belagavi on nearly 100 vehicles to stage protests amid the ongoing Maharashtra-Karnataka border issue. “This is not a one-day agitation. The government is using the police force to nip our struggle. We will teach a lesson to the government. We will discuss laying siege to the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha when the winter session will be held,” Narayan Gowda said during the protest.

KRV President Narayan Gowda detained by Police (Image Source- ABP News)

The states, of Maharashtra and Karnataka, were both established in 1960. However, Maharashtra has maintained that 865 villages along the boundary, including Carvar, Nippani, and Belgavi (formerly Belgaum), should be amalgamated with it since its establishment. Karnataka, on its side, has claimed control over 260 Kannada-speaking villages along the Maharashtra boundary.

Taking cognizance of the event, Maharashtra Dy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis expressed anguish on Tuesday and called Karnataka Chief Minister Bommai. He asked CM Bommai to look into the matter and take immediate action in the case. “Bommai has assured strict action against the culprits and that vehicles coming from Maharashtra will be protected. He assured me that immediate action would be taken and that the state would never support such activists amid the border dispute,” Fadnavis said adding that he would write to Home Minister Amit Shah to look into the matter.

Meanwhile, reports emerged saying that Shiv Sena workers (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) from Maharashtra had vandalized a couple of Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation buses that were parked near Pune’s Swargate bus terminal. The Pune City Police arrested seven Sena workers after the incident on December 6. When asked about the incident, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis said that ‘every action had the equal and opposite reaction.’ He also asked the activists in Maharashtra to maintain law and order and avoid engaging in such acts.

Earlier on Monday, Bommai had said that despite Karnataka asking the Maharashtra government not to let ministers visit the district, they had gone ahead and done so and it was not the right thing to do. “No one can stop our ministers from visiting any state in this free nation. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde will announce the final decision on the issue,” Fadnavis was quoted saying on Tuesday evening.

In Belagavi, security has been strengthened on all roadways bordering Maharashtra and Karnataka, and over 1,000 police officers have been posted at 21 border checkpoints and villages.

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