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Belagavi border dispute

Date: 23 December 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous


The linguistic border dispute between the states of Karnataka and Maharashtra has arisen again in Belagavi region of Karnataka.



Belagavi has been at the centre of multiple instances of dispute that are existent since independence.



Over the last few weeks, minor incidents have flared the tension between pro-Kannada and pro-Marathi groups.


The start

  • Since the reorganization in 1956, both Karnataka and Maharashtra have been fighting a long dispute over the city of Belagavi (formerly Belgaum).

  • The Supreme Court had constituted MC Mahajan committee, which had ruled that the city was integral part of Karnataka.


Historical context

  • Four districts of Mysore State including Belgaum were ceded to the Marathas in 1799 after the defeat of Tipu Sultan at the hands of the British.

  • These districts later became part of Bombay presidency and were administered by British directly until independence. They were later added to the new state of Mysore after state re-organisation.


The present issue

  • The whole issue started few weeks back when pro-Kannada activists blackened the face of pro-Maharashtra MES leader.

  • In retaliation, MES activists burned Kannada flag in Kolhapur. The move was condemned by all Kannada organizations.

  • Some miscreants tried to vandalize a statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji in Bengaluru. In retaliation, MES vandalized a statue of Sangolli Rayanna in Belagavi.


Emotional sentiments

  • Sangolli Rayanna is a cultural and freedom icon in Karnataka. The vandalism of his statue made all pro-Kannada organizations to demand for a ban on MES.

  • The defacing of statues of both the national icons has been criticized by the CM of Karnataka but Maharashtra CM has not condemned the defacing of Sangolli Rayanna, attracting protests.

  • Pro-Kannada groups have threatened to continue their protest against MES and the government in the State for not taking action.