The Shiv Sena on Tuesday said Belgaum should be declared as a Union Territory, alleging that atrocities on Marathi-speaking people by pro-Kannada outfits were continuing there. An editorial in the Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' alleged that a pro-Kannada organisation recently beat up Marathi
people in Belgaum, removed Marathi boards from shops there and also targeted pro-Marathi social media users. The Karnataka police were also harassing Marathi people, it claimed.
"If the atrocities are not going to stop, then the Centre should declare Belgaum as a Union Territory," it said.
Maharashtra claims certain areas, including Belgaum, Karwar and Nippani which are part of Karnataka, contending the majority of the population in these areas is Marathi- speaking.
The dispute between the two states over Belgaum and other border areas is pending before the Supreme Court for many years.
The editorial in 'Saamana' requested Maharashtra BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis to uptake the issue with the Centre and Karnataka chief minister.
There are Marathi people in Indore (Madhya Pradesh) and Vadodara (Gujarat) also. But, they never had any clashes with locals, the publication said.
It also said people speaking different languages have been residing in Maharashtra for so many years and that Marathi people never treated them badly.
"The way the BJP government in Karnataka is handling the atrocities committed on the Marathi community by locals, it seems to be encouraging such miscreants," the Sena alleged.
It is "illegal" to treat Marathi-speaking people in such a way when the boundary dispute issue is pending before the Supreme Court, the editorial said.
(With PTI inputs)