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Will Kerala lose its northern tip?

By K.P. Pushparaj

KASARAGOD NOV. 24. The issue of bifurcating Kasaragod district and merging the northern part with Karnataka has come alive with the Kasaragod Vileeneekarana Kriya Samithy planning to move the Supreme Court for appropriate orders.

The Samithy, headed by Kannada poet, Kayyar Kinhanna Rai, had recently adopted a resolution urging Kannadigas to take the issue to the Supreme Court. M. Ramanna Rai, former Kasaragod MP and an old CPI(M) strongman, is also associated with the movement.

The Samithy would move the apex court for an early implementation of the Justice Mahajan Commission report, which suggested bifurcation of Kasaragod and merger of its northern part with Karnataka.

The Vileeneekarana Kriya Samithy (Merger Action Council) is backed by the Karnataka Samithy, the Kannada Sahithya Parishad and a section of the Horanadu Kannadigas.

The reported move by the Maharashtra Government, supported by all political parties, to move the Supreme Court with a plea to include Belgaum and its neighbouring areas in Maharashtra is the inspiration for the proposed legal battle.

The resentment over the inclusion of the present Kasaragod district in Kerala is as old as the reorganisation of the States on November 1, 1956.

The Karnataka Samithy had launched an agitation against the decision and Ramanna Rai was among the leaders in the forefront of the stir. The first official resolution demanding the bifurcation of the district and merger of the north of Chandragiri river in Karnataka was adopted by the Kasaragod Municipal Council, then headed by Mr. Rai himself.

Moved by K.V. Madhavan of the Congress, the resolution was passed by a tactful gesture of the chair on September 30, 1970.

While the nine-member Karnataka Samithy-BJP combine supported the resolution, the Muslim League (which also had nine members) opposed it. It would have been a stalemate had Mr. Rai stood with the League to make it 10-10. But, he remained neutral to facilitate the adoption of the resolution by 10 against 9 votes.

``We are not against Malayalis or Kerala State, per se.

But, what we demand is the implementation of the Mahajan Commission report and the fulfilment of promises made by the former Chief Ministers of Kerala, E.M.S. Namboodiripad, C. Achutha Menon and Pattam Thanu Pillai,'' said Mr. Kinhanna Rai. Even the then Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president, K. Govindan Nair, was positive in his approach to our demand.

``The merger of the north of Chandragiri river with Karnataka is a historical and geographical necessity. I was the president of the Badiyadka panchayat when Mr. Mahajan came here as part of his commission work about 38 years ago,'' said the 87-year-old journalist-turned-poet.

``In fact, even the German missionaries were positive in their reaction to the demand. But the sad part is that the Karnataka Government is not taking any active interest on the issue.

The Samithy is convening a press meet in Mangalore on November 25 to announce the proposed legal action. I have invited all MPs and MLAs of South Canara to give moral support to our case,'' he said. Unlike Maharashtra, their case is strong and substantial.

The active association of Mr. Ramanna Rai in the campaign is something the CPI(M) leadership would take note of. No wonder, the Marxist veteran has been stripped of his positions in the party.

Whatever be the claims and propositions the Samithy would project in support of its argument, it would be a hard nut for the Supreme Court to crack, as the very basis of its plea — recommendations of the Mahajan Commission report — would invariably contradict the claims of the Maharashtra Government which wants Belgaum in its fold.

According to a Samithy activist, the Karnataka Government, which highlights the Mahajan Commission recommendations to defend the Maharashtra Government's demand to have Belgaum, would invariably have to join hands with the Samithy projecting the very same Commission report.

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