Kannada activists detained at Karnataka-Maharashtra border

Bangalore, Aug 2: Police on Friday detained pro-Kannada activists here as they attempted to enter Yellur village in the border district of Belgaum that witnessed violence over removal of a pro-Maharashtra sign board few days ago.

After observing Bangalore bandh on Thursday over growing sexual crimes against women and children, pro-Kannada organisations had organised "Yellur chalo" under the leadership of Vatal Nagaraj who heads a Kannada outfit.

As Nagaraj and other activists started marching from Sambra airport to Yellur shouting slogans against MES (Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti) and 'Belgaum is part of Karnataka', they were detained by the police and were later released in Dharwad. "....we didn't expect this (arrest) will happen, Yellur is a Kannada village, it is a village that belongs to Kannadigas," Nagaraj told reporters here as he was arrested.

The activists were detained when they tried to enter violence-hit Yellur village

He said: "This attempt by district administration and police to arrest us and stopping us from going to Yellur which is in Karnataka shows they are acting on behalf of MES", a pro-Maharashta outfit seeking merger of Belgaum in Karnataka with the neighbouring state.

Meanwhile police also restricted Shiv Sena MLA Divakar Rawate and his supporters from moving towards Yellur. They were earlier stopped from holding press conference here.

Violence broke out at Yellur village of Belgaum District on July 27 after a group of local people and pro-Maharashtra groups pelted stones at police, objecting to the removal of a re-erected "Maharashtra Rajya" sign board suggesting that the village was part of the neighbouring state. The district administration had on July 26 removed "Maharashtra Rajya" signboard at Yellur that was re-erected by the pro-Maharashtra supporters, after the previous one was razed to ground by the Public Works Department on Friday.

PWD's action came on the basis of a High Court order.


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