Tension prevailed in the border areas of Belagavi district on Monday after members of the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti and the Nationalist Congress Party staged protests as they were not allowed to enter Karnataka, reported ANI.

The organisations were denied permission by the police to hold an event in the district’s Tilakwadi city. The police have also imposed prohibitory orders in the area under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure that bans gathering of four or more persons.

The incident came amid a flare-up between Maharashtra and Karnataka over a decades-old border dispute.

The dispute pertains to Maharashtra’s demand since its creation on May 1, 1960, that 865 villages, including Belgaum (now Belagavi), Karwar and Nippani, that are currently in Karnataka, should be merged with it. Karnataka, however, claims the demarcation that was carried out on linguistic lines in 1956 is final. The case is pending before the Supreme Court.

The Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti is one of the organisations that has been demanding merger of the disputed border villages.

After being denied permission to enter Belagavi on Monday, the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti, along with the Nationalist Congress Party, staged a protest at the Kognoli toll plaza.

Karnataka Additional Director General of Police Alok Kumar said that the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti wanted Maharashtra ministers to enter the state but Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has denied permission.

More than 61 organisations had sought permission to hold protests in Belagavi, prompting the police to deploy force on the ground, reported NDTV.

Over 4,000 police personnel, including six superintendents of police, 11 additional superintendents, 43 deputy superintendents, 95 police inspectors, and 241 police sub inspectors have been deployed in Belagavi.

The protest was held on the same day when the Karnataka and Maharashtra Assemblies began their Winter Session. The Karnataka Assembly session is being held in Belagavi.

Meanwhile, in Maharashtra, Opposition parties raised the boundary dispute and denounced Karnataka’s decision to not allow Shiv Sena MP Dhairyasheel Mane enter Belagavi, reported PTI.

Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar demanded the government should collect information on Mane being denied entry and inform the House about it.

Mane, the chief of an expert committee formed on the dispute, had requested the Belagavi district administration to make arrangements for his visit to the city. However, it was denied.

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