Sowing Seeds of Hatred HDK Style: Protesters to Hoist a Separate Flag of North Karnataka

The purported flag of North Karnataka has saffron, yellow and green stripes with the map of North Karnataka with 13 districts in the centre 

The purported flag of North Karnataka has saffron, yellow and green stripes with the map of North Karnataka with 13 districts in the centre 

Ever since Karnataka Chief Minister accused farmers of North Karnataka for not waiving off their loans completely as they did not vote for him, the entire region is simmering with anger. The present conundrum began with protests against CM’s unwise statements last week in a public program where he said that farmers of north Karnataka don’t vote for him but ask for waiving off loans completely. This unsavoury statement of the CM has reignited the demand for a separate state carved out of North Karnataka. The present wave of protests doesn't seem to end, and today Swamiji’s and sants of various Mathas congregated at Belagavi and demanded for ending the official neglect of the region and hasten developmental works. Going a step further, the Uttara Karnataka Horata Samiti, a consortium of groups demanding a separate state, has declared that it will release and hoist a separate flag of North Karnataka in front of Suvarna Soudha in Belagavi.

 

The CM has rejected accusations that it were his statements which have led to the current wave of protests and demands for a separate state. However, the Uttara Karnataka Horata Samiti believes that the statement of CM reflects the official apathy to the woes of the region. Addressing the media in Belagavi yesterday, Samiti president Bhimappa Gadad said that they have kept the flag ready and it will be unfurled if they do not get a written assurance and concrete proposals from the government that would address the regional imbalance. He also stated that the Samiti’s immediate priority is not to seek a separate state, but strive for development of North Karnataka.

 

The purported flag of North Karnataka has saffron, yellow and green stripes with the map of North Karnataka with 13 districts in the centre. This has angered the pro-Kannada groups which are against dividing the state. Protests against demands for a separate state were held in several southern Karnataka districts of Channapatna, Mandya and Mysuru. This cycle of demands for a separate state, protests for and against it are reminiscent of the bitter way in which the erstwhile state of Andhra Pradesh was divided into two. The effects of such a sour separation is being felt even today in the two states whose division was mishandled by the UPA 2 regime under the supervision of Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi.

 

Consequently, BJP state president Shri. BS Yeddyurappa has accused the CM of sowing the seeds of separatism and hatred through his statements and hinted that it could be a deliberate ploy. “The JDS is a south Karnataka party. If the state is united, it can never come to power on its own. Because of that Kumaraswamy made a statement that north Karnataka people should have voted for the JDS if they wanted more development. It has naturally angered the north Karnataka people and some are demanding a separate state,” said BS Yeddyurappa in a statement.

 

On Tuesday, Sants of over 30 mathas from various districts of North Karnataka gathered outside the Suvarna Soudha, a replica of Vidhana Soudha and the legislative seat for the winter session of the Assembly, and protested against the long decades of apathy of the region and demanded immediate measures for the development of north Karnataka. Chandrashekar Shivacharya Swami of the Hukkeri Mutt, Allama Prabhu Swami from Chikkodi Mutt and several seers from mutts in Gokak, Belagavi, Bailhongal, Hubbali and Dharwad were part of the protest. They claimed that the region had been terribly neglected by successive governments and that the current government too had sidelined the region. They, however, reiterated that their demand was not for a separate state but for the development of the region.

 

In view of these developments, Yeddyurappa visited the protest venue and urged the swamijis and local organisations to drop the demand for a separate state. Many leaders of various political parties, including the JDS are of the opinion that the recent state budget presented by Kumaraswamy also played a role in angering the people of the region. The budget was seen as anti-North Karnataka and Kumarswamy’s way of punishing the North for not voting for the JDS. Infact, prominent leader of the Congress which is part of the coalition, HK Patil accused that the budget delivered a raw deal to North Karnataka. People from the coastal districts too have made similar accusations against the CM. Meagre allotments of funds, absence of schemes focused on the region were some of the accusations.

 

A bandh has been called on Wednesday by Uttara Karnataka Horata Samiti with support from several political leaders, farmer and citizen groups. The police are on a high alert to thwart any untoward incidents.