Mumbai: Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray today alleged that the Karnataka government was pressuring people in the border areas to speak Kannada and questioned why people weren’t returning awards on this “intolerance” issue. Addressing a gathering at the inauguration of Samyukta Maharashtra Smruti (memorial) garden at Dadar Naigaon here, he said his party will always stand behind the Marathi people living in Belgaum-Karwar belt of Karnataka and he will not rest till these Marathi-speaking areas along the border don’t get included in Maharashtra.
“Karnataka government is pressuring people in the border areas to speak Kannada and is stopping them from speaking Marathi. This is nothing but atrocity by the Karnataka government. Is this not intolerance? Why aren’t people returning awards on this issue?” he said in a dig at the writers who returned awards over rising intolerance.
Such people (writers, etc) always kept mum about atrocities committed by the Karnataka government on Marathi-speaking people in border areas, he said. ”This is intolerance and still nobody has returned their awards in protest of the inhuman actions of the Karnataka government. We had to fight for Mumbai’s inclusion in Maharashtra. We had to fight against our own government in the state and at the Centre. (Sena founder) Balasaheb Thackeray was arrested at that time. Mumbai was on fire for ten days and finally the state government urged Balasaheb to appeal to the Shiv Sainiks to end their agitation,” Uddhav said.
The young generation should know the history and the background of the formation of Smrti Udyan, he added. The Sena president also said he was going to watch the Marathi film ‘Marathi Tigers’ which is about Maharashtra- Karnataka border dispute, and all Marathi-speakers should watch it.