The Panchamasali Lingayat community padyatra, demanding more reservations to meet the educational and professional needs of its people, reached Belagavi in Karnataka on Thursday.
The community is demanding they be included in the 15 per cent OBC category of 2A. A heavy police force has been deployed at Hirebagewadi in Belagavi due to the Panchamasali padayatra being held under the leadership of the Jagadguru Basava Jaya Mruthyunjaya Swamiji of the Kundalasangama Peetha.
Karnataka Assembly is currently holding its Winter Session at the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in Belagavi.
State Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said that the Panchamasali Lingayats are protesting peacefully for their demands and the police have made appropriate arrangements as per the number of protestors, here.
“I am sure that they won’t barge into Vidhana Soudha, they have given place and accordingly we have made police deployment and arrangements,” Karnataka Home Minister said.
Further reacting to Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader Sanjay Raut’s remarks on Wednesday, Jnanedra said: “Their language shows how immature they are. It shows his immaturity, he doesn’t know the difference between China- India border and Maharastra- Karnataka border. We are living in a federal system and I am sure that the Maharastra government will not allow such things to happen.”
“We are also firm with our stand and we know how to deal with it if any such organisation or person tries to create problem between two states,” he added.
Raut yesterday sparked a controversy by saying, “We will enter Karnataka like China has entered the country”.
“Like China has entered, we will enter (Karnataka). We don’t need anyone’s permission. We want to solve it through a discussion but Karnataka CM is igniting a fire. There is a weak government in Maharashtra and is not taking any stand on it,” Sanjay Raut said yesterday.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavraj Bommai on that day later hit out at Maharashtra’s Opposition leaders, claiming that they had ‘lost their mental balance’.
The Panchamasalis, a subsection of the Lingayat community in Karnataka come under category 3B which has a 5 per cent quota. They now want to be included under category 2A, in which they will get a share in the 15 per cent reservation.
Notably, tensions are already prevailing in the border areas of Belagavi on the Maharashtra Karnataka border after members of the Maharastra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) and Nationalist Congress Party staged a protest on Monday demanding they be allowed into Belagavi.
However, Belagavi Police denied permission to MES to conduct its Maha Melava at the Vaccine Depot ground in Tilakwadi and clamped prohibited orders in Tilakwadi Police Station jurisdiction. It also imposed Section 144 in the area and heavy security was deployed at the site.
The border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka goes back to the implementation of the State Reorganization Act, of 1956. The then Maharashtra government had demanded the readjustment of its border with Karnataka.
Following this, a four-member committee was formed by both states. The Maharashtra government had expressed willingness to transfer 260 predominantly Kannada-speaking villages, but the proposal was turned down by Karnataka.
Both governments later approached the Supreme Court to expedite the matter.