The border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka took an ugly turn on Monday as violence erupted in Belgaum, the bone of contention between the two states.
The violence seemed the more uncalled-for as the Supreme Court yesterday permitted the Maharashtra government to amend its original suit challenging the validity of a law that allowed the inclusion of some areas of Belgaum district with a Marathi-speaking population in Karnataka five decades ago.
The decision of the Supreme Court to reject the affidavits filed by Karnataka as well as the centre sparked the violence.
Miscreants from both sides attacked buses coming from the other side of the border. Three Maharashtra state buses were burnt at Kittur in Belgaum district by suspected activists of the Kannada Rakshana Vedike.
Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena activists reciprocated by torching Karnataka state buses in Thane, Pune, Kolhapur and Solapur. Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation then decided to cancel buses to Karnataka for next two days.
Activists of the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) were lathicharged by Belgaum Police. The activists were protesting the centre's affidavit in the Supreme Court last week saying Belgaum district in Karnataka cannot be ceded to Maharashtra merely because it has a large Marathi speaking population.