Maha Kannadigas caught between ‘stepmotherly’ state govt, ‘negligent’ K’taka

In a countermove, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had staked claim over Kannada-speaking regions of Jatt and Akkalakote taluks in Maharashtra’s Solapur district, shocking Maharashtra politicians. However, the people there who raised their voice to join Karnataka are now feeling abandoned.

If the Maharashtra government can send two of its ministers to Karnataka, why Karnataka government is hesitating to send its ministers here, they ask.

After Bommai’s call for 42 villages of Jatt region be merged into Karnataka, 11 Presidents of the Gram Panchayats took a resolution to join the neighbouring state. People openly waved Kannada flags and demanded that their villages should be merged with Karnataka.

Now, Marathi newspapers are claiming that the village panchayats which have passed the resolution would be dissolved. Fearing legal action by Maharashtra government, many people have left the villages.

When Kannadigas in Maharashtra are at the receiving end, the Karnataka government has left them to suffer without giving succour or support, say Kannadigas in Maharashtra.

Mallikjaan Shaik, President of Adarsha Kannada Balaga and of the Maharashtra unit of Kannada Sahitya Parishat, said that Bommai is not responding to their woes now.

“Ruling parties in Maharashtra, the opposition, organisations, police have all targeting us now for passing a resolution to join Karnataka.

“Karnataka government has stopped talking about us now. The ruling party, CM Bommai, opposition are not making any statements. Only we should have the love for language? Are we nothing to them?” he questioned.

Maharashtra had been demanding 865 villages but the Chief Justice M.C. Mahajan (retd) Commission report had allotted them 265 villages only. Maharashtra is working towards to wrestle all the villages to its fold. But, Karnataka which claiming rights over Jatt region is lagging, Shaik said.

There are 50 to 60 gram panchayats which want to join Karnataka in the region, he maintained.

After the people’s agitation, the Maharashtra government has announced a water project for the region, but, still it has to materialise. Meanwhile, people are being threatened with cases of sedition. “We are not demanding to join Pakistan. We are demanding to join Karnataka. How can they lodge such cases?” Shaik asked.

The whole Jatt and Akkalakote region is a Kannada speaking area. Every household has given their daughter in marriage in various districts of Karnataka. This is the region where social reformer Basavanna carried out a social revolution. But, both the states have neglected, he said.

“Because we came forward, the Maharashtra politicians backtracked in their attempts to claim Karnataka’s regions. Next time when CM Bommai rises the issue, we may not take the risk,” Shaik added.

He said that Maharashtra government stated that they would send their ministers to Belagavi, NCP leader Sharad Pawar stated that he would come to Belagavi, but Karnataka “is sleeping over the issue”.

“They should have sent their ministers to Jatt region in Maharashtra. CM Bommai, Kannada and Culture Minister are tight lipped. Are we not Kannadigas?” Shaik asks.

Malleshappa Teli, a software professional and Kannada activist from Jatt region, said that Karnataka should aggressively pursue implementation of the report of the Mahajan Commission.

The government should also empower Kannada organisations like how the Maharashtra Ekikarana Samithi is supported, he says.

Teli said that people of the region have decided to join Karnataka and Maharashtra is saying that it will take action. “At this juncture, Karnataka must take legal action. Reservation in education, appointment of teachers to Kannada schools must be done,” he said.

People of the region are planning to come down to Belagavi during the winter session of the legislature and ask CM Bommai what is his plan for them.

Meanwhile , Kannada activists in Belgavi are furious over CM Bommai for using and dumping Kannada people in Maharashtra. They are going to arrive in Belagavi and question Bommai on what is he is going to do over the merger.

Maloji Shantharam Astekar, General Secretary of MES and former mayor, stated that they are Kannada regions. But, the issue is of water facility and Maharashtra government has announced a project.

The issue ends there, people of that region have chosen to be with Maharashtra. Their MLA, a Lingayat had earlier stated that they want to be in Maharashtra, he said.

20221210-154008

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