Mumbai, April 12 (IANS) In a gesture of solidarity with the Marathi-speaking people of Belgaum in Karnataka who have staged a sit-in agitation in the city, the Maharashtra legislative assembly was adjourned for 90 minutes here Thursday.
The sit-in agitation has been organised to draw the people's attention to the ongoing 56-year-old struggle demanding merger of Marathi-speaking areas in the Karnataka border districts with Maharashtra.
Raising the issue, senior PWP legislator Ganpatrao Deshmukh said the long-pending issue of the Maharashtra-Karnataka boundary eludes a solution.
Hence, it was time for the people of this state to unitedly rise and express solidarity with the Marathi-speaking people who are fighting the Karnataka government's atrocities against the linguistic minorities in the border regions of the neighbouring state.
Deshmukh, however, made it clear that he was not opposed to the state government's decision to give two TMC water from Maharashtra's Doodhganga and Warana dams to Karnataka.
His plea found support among various ruling and opposition legislators, including Industry Minister Narayan Rane of Congress, Jitendra Awhad of Nationalist Congress Party, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's Bala Nandgaonkar and Bharatiya Janata Party's Girish Bapat.
Awhad said the Maharashtra government should have sought assurances on the boundary dispute before agreeing to give water to Karnataka.
Nangaonkar said MNS chief Raj Thackeray had met BJP President Nitin Gadkari and appealed to him to prevail upon his (BJP) party's government in Karnataka to respect the sentiments of the linguistic minorities like Marathis.
On his part, Bapat pointed out that though his party ruled Karnataka, the Maharashtra unit would always support the Marathi-speaking people in that state and oppose any kinds of atrocities.
Assembly Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil said that though Maharashtra has supported the struggle of the Marathi-speaking people unitedly, it has not met with success and their rights are not protected in Karnataka.
"Last December, the Maharashtra Legislature passed a unanimous resolution demanding President's rule in Belgaum and other disputed border areas till the outcome of the case in the Supreme Court. The resolution had also called upon the centre to re-instate the dissolved Belgaum Municipal Corporation, but nothing happened," Walse-Patil said.
The members also readily agreed to a proposal to adjourn the house, to enable all legislators visit Azad Maidan, south Mumbai, and meet the people from Belgaum who are staging the sit-in agitation there.
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