Karnataka legislature meets in Belgaum, pro-Maharashtra group protests

January 16th, 2009 - 10:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Jan 16 (IANS) The Karnataka legislature Friday began a nine-day session in the border district of Belgaum amid protests from a pro-Maharashtra group, with 150 of their activists detained by police.The session is the second to be organised in Belgaum, about 500 km from here. The district borders Maharashtra and has a mixed population of Kannada and Marathi-speaking people. The first session was held in 2006.

Opposing the session, Maharashtra Ekikaran Samithi, a political party favouring Belgaum’s merger with Maharashtra, had threatened to organise a ‘Marathi Maha Melava’ (a convention of Marathi-speaking people) Friday.

However, the Karnataka government ruled that the convention could not be held as MES had not sought permission.

“About 150 people, including around 35 women, were arrested when they tried to hold the convention. They were later released,” state police said in Bangalore.

In his address to the joint sitting of the assembly and council, Governor Rameshwar Thakur said the global financial meltdown was slowing down the growth in IT sector, which has been a major contributor to the state coffers in recent years.

“The meltdown is impacting the growth of the IT sector. The slowdown has hit not only IT but also garment manufacturing and industrial production in the state,” he said.

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