Those demanding split from Karnataka have this to say

 Telangana gives hopes to many who want their own states.

 I spoke to a the heads of some factions who want to split from Karnataka, who gave their reasons for wanting a split.

Vijay More, Former Belagaum Mayor and leader of  Maharashtra Ekkikarana Sangha

Belgaum which has a huge Marathi speaking populace and people feel that the district should be allowed to join Maharashtra. “We have our own language and culture, which is not respected by Karnataka. There was a mistake during the formation of states, and we Marathis in Belgaum are suffering because of this. We are not against Karnataka or Kannadigas, we just want to safeguard our language and culture. Karnataka is forcing Kannada on us,” said Vijay More, former Belgaum Mayor and leader of Maharashtra Ekkikarana Sangha.

The matter of Belgaum wanting to join Maharashtra is in the Supreme Court. “We will honour the court verdict. But the Supreme Court has also given an order that official documents should be in the language which people speak. Here the documents are in Kannada and most of the people don’t know to read if. If the property documents are in Kannada how will a Marathi person living here read it? He has to go to a Kannada knowing person who may cheat him,” he said.

More feels that the development of Belgaum was also ignored by the Karnataka government. “The Karnataka government has a step motherly attitude towards Belgaum. If not, the district would have been much ahead,” he said. He is also against the Karnatala government building a Vidhana Soudha in Belgaum, since the matter is still in court.

Kannada Rakshana Vedike (KRV) members had painted More black with tar at the Legislator’s house near Vidhana Soudha two years ago. “We are asking for our right in a non-violent way. But the KRV is using unlawful means to subdue us,” he said.

 N U Nachappa, Secreatary-General, Codava National Council

The Codavas for a long time were demanding that the Kodagu district be made into an

independent state. But now they are demanding an autonomous homeland status. “We Codavas are a different race and live in a compact area. Codagu is made of 45 Kodava nads or clusters of villages which were ruled by chieftains. We have our own language and a distinct culture which is very different from that of the Kannadigas. Even our almanac is different. But Kanndigas are imposing their language on us. So to safeguard or language and culture, we need the autonomy,” said Nachappa, Secreatray, Codava National Council.

Nachappa says that the Karnataka government has changed most of the names in Kodava language to Kannada. “They have changed the name of our festival Puttari to Huttari. Putta means new and Ari means rice. What means has Huttari has? They have also changed the names of places. The Karnataka government calls us Malanadu Kannadigas, but we are not Kannadigas. It is the same as calling Kurds living in Syria or Iran as mountain Turks, which they are opposed to. Leave alone being Kannadigas, we are not even Hindus. We worship the natural forces and have no Gods,” he said.

Nachappa also feels that they have no big state to look up to for support. “The Marathis in Belgaum have Maharasthra which safeguard the Marathi language. The Konakanis in Karwar have Goa. But we have no big state to protect our language,” he said.

He also feels that the development of Kodagu was neglected, and the reservation system in elections is further affecting the development of the district. “Because of the reservation system, even a person from Kolar can come and contest for even panchayat elections,” he said.

 Asha Palankar, Convener, Goa Konkani Rajya Ekikaran Manch

 

The Konkani speaking belt of Kawar, Haliyal and Supa are also demanding that they be joined with Goa. “Injustice has been done to us in 1956. Our roots are in Goa, which was ruled by the Portuguese. But Goa got independence in 1961, and Konkani areas which were ruled by the British were added to Karnataka,” she said.

Palankar feels that the Karnataka government is imposing Kannada on them and the Konkani still do not live in an Independent India. “We feel that we are still under the Portuguese who had tried to impose their culture and language on us. The Karnataka government is doing the same thing. Our temples have names written in Devanagiri script. But when renovations are made, the Kannadigas ensure that the same names are written in Kannada. They are forcing our children to learn Kannada in schools. Konkani is not taught,” she said. Official documents which are written in Kannada. “When the Kannada Rakshana Vedike members hit me with eggs, I wanted to file a police complaint, and the police insisted that I write the complaint in Kannada. When I insisted that I would write it in Konkani, the cop said that he would write it in Kannada and I had to sign it. How can I trust whatever he writes when I don’t know the language,” she said.

As for the development of Karwar, she feels that it is neglected and that most of the officials are also Kannadigas. “This has forced many Karwaris to migrate to Goa and Maharasthra. They build houses here and come only for vacations,” she said.

  The movement to merger Karwar with Goa gained momentum in 1992, when the Konkani language was added in the VIII schedule of the constitution. “Now we have approached the Supreme Court, and hope to get justice,” she said.

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