Erode/Bengaluru: Sign and name boards of the Tamil Nadu government in Tamil and English on the state’s border with Karnataka were allegedly damaged by a fringe group from the neighboring state for the second time in ten days, police said here on Monday.
The group claimed that Thalavadi in Tamil Nadu’s Erode district ‘belonged’ to Karnataka. The incidents come against the backdrop of a row between Maharashtra and Karnataka over some border areas where Marathi speaking people live predominantly.
Following the back to back incidents and a call for protest against it by Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, armed police personnel have been deployed at (Thalavadi taluk, Erode district) Tamil Nadu’s border with Karnataka (Chamarajanagar district), they said. Such incidents have been brought to the notice of police in Karnataka, they added. On Sunday, sign and name boards, including one by Erode District Panchayat, were damaged by unknown miscreants, Thalavadi police said, adding they inspected the spot and posted adequate number of armed policemen to avert such incidents in future. Such boards inform people about the beginning of the limits of Tamil Nadu state and under which division or sub-division of the TN Highways Department the locality falls. Also, they either ”welcome” or say ”thanks” to people for visiting Erode district of Tamil Nadu, ubiquitous in border regions.
On January 10, about 20 people led by Vattal Nagaraj, leader of Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha, entered Tamil Nadu’s Ramapura in Thalavadi police limits and some from among them allegedly dismantled and threw away nameboards of district panchayat and the highways department, police said. The men, damaging the signboards in Tamil, raised slogans like ”Don’t need Tamil”, “We want only Kannada name plates in Karnataka”, “Victory to Kannada Chalavali Vatal Party”. A video clip on their vandalism has been widely shared in social media. Speaking to Karnataka reporters in front of the Tamil boards then, Nagaraj said “Thalavadi is a Kannada land” and recalled that he launched a protest in 1969, seeking to annex Thalavadi with Karnataka. He and many leaders from Chamarajangar marched from that town and protested at Yallekatte. They were arrested and lodged at the Gopichettipalayam jail in Tamil Nadu and released three days later, Nagaraj said.
“Karunanidhi was the Tamil Nadu chief minister while Veerendra Patil was Chief Minister of Karnataka,” he said. Protesting against Tamil boards in Thalavadi, Nagaraj said authorities should not put them up and must come up with Kannada boards. “There is not a single word written in Kannada,” he said. Following the incidents, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi said here that they would stage a protest against the vandalism by the group and their claim to Thalavadi. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s statement on Sunday that his government is committed towards incorporating into the state, areas of Karnataka where Marathi speaking people are in a majority triggered strong reactions in the Kannada speaking state. Protests erupted in parts of Karnataka and Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa ruled out parting with “even an inch of land” from Karnataka to Maharashtra.