`Kannada meet won't strengthen Karnataka's claim on Belgaum'

`Kannada meet won't strengthen Karnataka's claim on Belgaum'

Karnataka government can not bolster the state's claim over Belgaum merely through holding the Kannada Convention there, the editorial in Sena mouthpiece `Samana', edited by Bal Thackeray, said today.

Belgaum, which has a sizable Marathi-speaking population, has been a bone of contention ever since the two states came into existence.

"Is there a democracy or a Libyan dictator Gaddafi's rule?"  the editorial asked today, referring to reports of beating up of Marathi-speakers by Karnataka police.

"Marathi and Kannada languages are like twin sisters and therefore we wish the World Kannada Meet well. However, Karnataka Government chose Belgaum as the venue purposely", the editorial said.

Alleging that in the run-up to the event, the Marathi-speakers in Belgaum faced atrocities at the hands of Karnataka police, the editorial said the objective of the Convention was not to promote Kannada language, but to "provoke and crush" the Marathi-speakers.

The editorial also referred to Bollywood actor, Aishwarya Rai, who has been invited to the Convention. "We do not oppose Aishwarya attending the convention. We have no quarrel with the Kannada language, but with the regime there which uses force against Marathis.

We wish Aishwarya goes there as a Maharashtrian and offers sympathy to Marathi-speakers there, but actors go to such events not as a social duty, but as a part of `deal'", it said.

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