Maharashtra Congress delegation meets Sonia Gandhi over Belgaum issue

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New Delhi, July 17 (ANI): A delegation of Maharashtra Congress leaders, led by Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, met party chief Sonia Gandhi and apprised her of the situation in the state in the wake of a flare up over the state's boundary dispute with Karnataka.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Chavan said he was firm on his demand for granting Union Territory status to the 865 villages in Karnataka, which have a majority of Marathi-speaking population.

Chavan said they wanted a team appointed by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to tour the disputed areas in Karnataka to see the plight of Marathi-speaking people there.

"Karnataka Government should refrain from taking any further decisions in the boundary effected area because of the sentiments of the people. As far as the local Marathi people speaking is concerned they are all disturbed, they are depressed and are being beaten up.

So, all this should be stopped immediately, and that is why we said the NHRC should be sent there," he added.

The long-pending dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka over Belgaum got revived after the central government filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court that the area could not become a part of Maharashtra just because most of people spoke Marathi.

On the issue of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader Chandrababu Naidu's march to Nanded for which he is currently in police custody, Chavan said 'Naidu's actions are political, as assembly by-elections have been declared in Andhra Pradesh.'

Chavan also accused Naidu of creating a law and order problem in the area.

Naidu led 75 TDP leaders, including MPs, state legislators and former ministers, to the site and spent Friday night at the Dharmabad Industrial Training Institute (ITI) and refused to leave Maharashtra till they were allowed to inspect the Babli Dam on the Godavari River.

They were subsequently taken into police custody. (ANI)

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