Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Tuesday assured the legislative Assembly that his government would not let any injustice happen to people residing in Marathi-speaking areas of Karnataka and asserted he was keen to resolve the long-festering border dispute with the neighbouring state at the earliest.
He said senior advocate Harish Salve, a former Solicitor General of India, has agreed to fight the state’s legal case on the decades-old border dispute with Karnataka in the Supreme Court.
Making a statement in the Lower House, Shinde said, “It (border dispute) is a sensitive issue and the state was keen on solving it at the earliest. The state government had also requested noted advocate Harish Salve to represent Maharashtra in the ongoing case in the Supreme Court and he has agreed to it.” “After discussing the border issue with Union Home Minister Amit Shah (in December), both states were asked to nominate three ministers from each side (to discuss the matter). Their meeting will be held soon. The Maharashtra government has also asked Karnataka to withdraw all police cases filed against people residing in the disputed region (over agitations related to border row),” the chief minister said.
Shinde said his government will ensure that Marathi-speaking people residing in villages and towns in Karnataka located along the border with Maharashtra, claimed by both sides, do not face any injustice at the hands of authorities in the southern state.
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The border issue dates back to 1957 after the reorganisation of states on linguistic lines. Maharashtra laid claim to Karnataka’s Belagavi district, which was part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency, as it has a sizeable Marathi-speaking population.
Maharashtra also laid claim to 814 Marathi-speaking villages which are currently part of the southern state. Karnataka, however, considers the demarcation done on linguistic lines as per the States Reorganisation Act and the 1967 Mahajan Commission Report as final.
Shinde said the state government has increased the pension given to those who fought for a separate state of Maharashtra from Rs 10,000 per month to Rs 20,000.
People residing in disputed areas with Karnataka would also benefit from subsidy given to schools and other recognised institutions, and gain from the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Arogya Yojana, which covers various medical treatments, the CM said.