Mumbai: After authors, MoS detained at Belgaum, escorted to border

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MoS Public Health said he was taken into custody by Karnataka Police.

Days after a group of authors was stopped from attending a Marathi literary meet at a village near Belgaum in Karnataka, Maharashtra Minister Rajendra Patil-Yadravkar was detained while he was paying tribute to those killed in the border dispute between the two states and escorted back to the border.

Patil-Yadravkar, Minister of State for Public Health in Maharashtra, went to Belgaum on a bus to escape the screening by Karnataka Police to stop leaders from Maharashtra from participating in the ‘Martyrs’ Day’ programme organised by Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti.

The minister reached Belgaum on a bus and then took an auto-rickshaw to the venue. The minister said that as soon as he reached there and started paying tributes, Karnataka Police took him into custody and escorted him back to the state border at Kognoli.

Condemning the police action, the minister said, “The Karnataka Police action has violated my right under the Constitution. I had gone to pay tributes to the martyrs. Even that was not allowed. I will brief Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray about the happenings here and urge him to initiate appropriate action,” he said, adding that police told him that he was being taken into custody to avoid any law and order problem.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said, “The BJP government in Karnataka continues to violate rights of Marathi- speaking people there and also those going there. But the BJP in Maharashtra is silent.”

He said he would visit Belgaum on Saturday to attend a function. “Let them do what they want...I am told orders have been issued to arrest me...I am not worried,” he said.

NCP state spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “The Karnataka police action shows the attitude of the Karnataka government towards Marathi-speaking people,” he said.

Belgaum DC S Bommanhali said he was not aware of the police action. Belgaum DCP (Law and Order) Seema Latkar said, “He was not detained. As per the protocol, we escorted him back to his vehicle,” she said. Asked about the minister’s allegation that he was not allowed to pay tributes at the Hutatma Chowk, Latkar said, “We did not allow him to deliver a speech as it would have vitiated the law and order situation.”