Protestors in Karnataka’s Belagavi observed a “Black Day” on Wednesday, demanding that the Centre take note of their demand to make the city a part of Maharashtra, The News Minute reported. The Maharashtra Ekikarn Samiti, which forms a majority in the Belagavi Municipal Council, participated in the protests along with Mayor Sanjyot Bandekar and independent MLA Sambhaji Patil.
The protests were held on the day of the Karnataka Rajyotsava, a celebration held to mark the creation of the state in 1956. “The area [Belagavi] is dominated by Marathi-speaking people, and we do not identify ourselves as Kannadigas,” Patil said. “Why should we celebrate the Rajyotsava? We have every right to protest peacefully. We have been fighting for this cause for decades.”
Belagavi district in-charge Ramesh Jarkiholi said the state government would study the situation before considering action against the city’s mayor, The Hindu reported. “Everybody knows that the MES does it for political gains, especially now since this is an election year,” he said. “We will study the pros and cons and then decide on action to be initiated.”
Early on Wednesday, pro-Kannada groups gathered outside the Belagavi Municipal Corporation, where they shouted slogans and hoisted the unofficial state flag, The News Minute reported. When the police arrived, the activists threatened to commit suicide if the flag was pulled down. Officers detained 30 protestors.
Meanwhile, in the Kalburgi region of Karnataka’s Gulbarga district, there were protests near the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel statue for a separate Kalburgi state. When the police tried to detain the activists, they ran away.