Source The Hindu
Furore: The police having a tough time easing tensions between Marathi-speaking people and MES leaders at Hindalga on Sunday.
They were not allowed to pay tributes at a memorial in Hindalga Leader of the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samithi who unsuccessfully contested the Assembly elections as a rebel candidate and his supporters faced the wrath of Marathi-speaking people at Hindalga near here on Sunday on the occasion of “Hutatma Divas” (martyr’s day).Marathi-speaking people led by MES have been observing June 1 as martyr’s day since 1986 to pay tributes to eight people who were killed in police firing.
The MES had organised a “satyagraha” on June 1, 1986 to oppose the State Government’s decision to make Kannada a compulsory language in schools. Marathi-speaking people had joined the agitation in large numbers and resorted to violence. Eight people were killed in police firing in Hindalga, Belgundi and Uchagaon villages and Old Belgaum city areas.Later, a memorial was built at Hindalga where MES leaders and Marathi-speaking people pay homage to them every year.
Trouble broke out on Sunday when B.I. Patil, former MES MLA and Belgaum taluk unit president, Ramesh Gangaram Pawale, who contested as MES rebel candidate from Belgaum North, Suresh Dhokre, Ninguji Huddar and Manoj Pause arrived at Hindalga to pay tributes at the memorial. Residents of the village shouted slogans against them and termed them as “gaddars” (traitors).The MES was drubbed in the elections, which is being seen as an “historic defeat” in its electoral war against Karnataka Government and Kannadigas.
The residents said, “The ‘gaddars’ have no right to touch the portraits of those who sacrificed their lives for the cause of unity of Marathi-speaking people.”
They prevented the MES leaders from offering tributes at the portraits, and this led to a verbal altercation.
Later, the police arrived at the scene and took control of the situation. However, Mr. Patil and the four others had to return without paying tributes to the martyrs.