In a show of strength, pro-Kannada organisations on Tuesday staged demonstration in Belagavi, the border town in the centre of a dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra, against a proposed visit of a ministerial delegation from the neighbouring state.
The Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, which led the agitation, has announced statewide protests from Wednesday.
The leaders of the Kannada organisations are protesting against Maharashtra Ministers Chandrakant Patil and Shambhuraj Desai’s proposed visit which was postponed later.
The activists held placards, banners, posters, Kannada flag and raised slogans against Maharashtra for raking up the issue.
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There were reports that the activists blackened the number plate of few trucks with Maharashtra registration in Belagavi.
In view of the protests, police made elaborate security arrangements in the city to avoid any untoward incidents.
There were also reports that a team of Shiv Sena activists from Maharashtra would visit Belagavi, which further agitated the protestors, sources said.
To prevent the situation before turning into violent, police took the protestors under preventive custody.
Karnataka Rakshana Vedike president T A Narayana Gowda expressed his displeasure over the preventive arrest.
”If we are not allowed to enter Belagavi then who else should be? Is it the people of Maharashtra? I condemn the police for arresting those fighting for the cause of Karnataka,” Gowda said.
He gave a call for statewide agitation from Wednesday. ”From tomorrow onwards there will be agitation in all the 31 districts of Karnataka,” Gowda told reporters.
Normal life was affected due the protests across the city.
Maharashtra has been demanding the merger of Belagavi with it on the ground that the district has substantial Marathi speaking population, which Karnataka has been opposing.