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Take back Jnanpith Award from Kambara: Thackeray

Mumbai: Lashing out at Kannada writer Chandrashekara Kambara for his ”anti-Marathi” remarks, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray today demanded that the Jnanpith committee should take back the prestigious award given to him.

“Kambara has said that Marathi-speaking populace in border areas (of Karnataka) was born only to create chaos. He has also said that if Marathi people in these areas want education in Marathi medium, they should move to Maharashtra,” Thackeray said in an editorial in the party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.

“On behalf of the eight crore Marathi people in Maharashtra, we demand that the Jnanpith committee take back the award from him,” the Sena chief said. Thackeray reminded Kambara that lakhs of people from Karnataka were engaged in industry and business in Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra. “In fact, the Udupis control the hotel business here. What will happen if we ask all these people to return to their (native) state?” he asked.

“Kambara should remember that language is nobody’s enemy. Doyens like Girish Karnad, Dr Shivaram Karanth, U R Ananthamurthy, Bhimsen Joshi and Gangubai Hangal have ruled over Marathi minds,” the Sena patriarch said.

Thackeray’s comments came after the Karnataka government, angered by the “anti-Kannada acts” of some pro-Marathi councillors, slapped a show-cause notice on the Belgaum City Corporation asking it to reply in two weeks as to why action should not be initiated to dissolve it.

Incidents hurting the sentiments of the people have been “continuously happening” in the Corporation, Karnataka Law and Parliamentary Affairs and Urban Development Minister, S Suresh Kumar has said.

Seventeen councillors had on October 29 opposed a resolution to congratulate Kambara claiming he made a statement favouring teaching in Kannada medium and “created pandemonium” to block it, the Minister had noted.

Earlier this month, the Karnataka government issued a show-cause notice to Belgaum city mayor Manda Balekundri and her deputy Renu Killekar for taking part in the ‘black day’ rally organised by the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti on Rajyotsava Day on November 1 and showing disrespect to Kambara.

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