Maharashtra-Karnataka border row: Sanjay Raut calls for all-party visit to Belgaum

MUMBAI: Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Saturday alleged that Marathi people residing in Karnataka’s Belgaum were being victimised, and said an all-party delegation from Maharashtra should visit the city in the neighbouring state to resolve the ongoing stand-off.

Talking to reporters, Raut said that in the last eight days there have been instances of attack on Shiv Sena leaders and the party’s office in Belgaum by pro-Kannada outfits.

“Belgaum is part of India and the Maharashtra- Karnataka dispute is a language dispute.

Itshouldn’t be stretched too far and this is the responsibility of the Karnataka government too,” he said.

“If the situation goes out of hand, the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra government shouldn’t be blamed since the response would not be official, but political,” the Sena’s Rajya Sabha member said.

Raut blamed the Centre for the situation in Belgaum, saying that it can see violence in West Bengal and places where BJP is contesting elections, but “turning a blind eye” to the developments in Belgaum.

“The Maharashtra government will have to take a firm stand. An all-party delegation should visit Belgaum soon to show unity with the Marathi people suffering the high- handedness there,” he said.

The Sena leader alleged that Kannada outfit Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, which is attacking the Shiv Sena activists, is sponsored by the BJP.

“No one from the BJP is speaking about it. The Shiv Sena can also respond in equal measure, but we don’t want to create a rift between the two states. The Centre should intervene,” he said.

Raut said the fresh stand-off was an attempt to divert the attention from the sex CD scandal allegedly involving a former Karnataka minister.

He lamented that despite the boundary dispute being a sub-judice matter, Karnataka constructed a Vidhan Bhavan in Belgaum and made it the second capital of the state.