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from daijiworld's special correspondent reporting from Sullia (MB)

Mangalore / Sullia, Jul 22: Boundary disputes between various states are common all over India. Chauvinists from either side appear to 'fight' for the claimed land with a fervor higher than that for the thousands of square kilometres of our land lying under the control of Pakistan and China for decades. As if to aggravate the position, they keep referring to their boundary disputes as 'border' disputes.

Background of reorganization of states

Kasaragod taluk (now a full-fledged district in Kerala) was part of the South Kanara district of Madras Presidency until 1956. During the reorganization of states in 1956, Kasaragod was given away to Kerala, supposedly in compensation for another piece of territory ceded by the newly-formed Kerala state to Madras state (now Tamil Nadu). The late Sardar K M Panikkar was being held responsible for this part of a calculated move. (For this very reason, his appointment as vice chancellor to Mysore University was being resented by Kannadigas.)

While the Kasaragod Ekikaran Samiti has been fighting a thankless battle for over 50 years to have Kasaragod areas merged with Karnataka on the basis of majority of Kannada-speaking people in the region, there is an opposite argument that Kasaragod did not belong to the erstwhile Mysore state but was in Madras Presidency as part of undivided South Kanara (now called Dakshina Kannada)!

Fresh dispute


Map courtesy: KVG institutions website - with additional marking by daijiworld

While  this dispute has very much been a burning issue, now there is a fresh report of a claim by Kerala forest department over 800 acres of forest land in Sullia taluk of Dakshina Kannada in Karnataka.

A recent report by Kasaragod divisional forest officer Sajan to the Kerala government has said that the Karnataka government has infringed upon the forests in the villages of Mandekolu and Adoor which lie on the boundary between Sullia taluk in Karnataka and Kasaragod taluk in Kerala.

He has complained that about 800 acres of land has been passed on by Karnataka government to private ownership, while the land legitimately 'belonged' to Kerala. He has also claimed that a portion of Mandekolu and Kanakamajalu in Sullia and Puttur taluks respectively are under the jurisdiction of Kasaragod district.

The report also submits that a joint survey had been conducted by Kerala and Karnataka states in December 1999. The Karnataka side was led by Mysore land reforms joint director Shivamadaiah and Kerala by survey department's assistant director H Kamala Nadar.

Strong protest

After a Kannada daily flashed the news on Friday, July 21, the majority of villagers being Kannada-speaking, got agitated over the matter and a press meet was called the same day. The local leaders have charged that it was a plot on the part of Kerala authorities to seal the fate of Kasaragod's permanent merger with that state, besides claiming additional areas from Karnataka.

Many locals commented that, the concept of national integration and unity apart, already inroads have been made by Malayalis into Dakshina Kannada, even referring to Mangalore as "Mangalapuram" as a rule. The neglect of Kannada in Mangalore railway station is being referred to as something fit for a case-study.

Kannada areas in Kasaragod like Manjeshwar and Nileshwar having been made 'Manjeshwaram' and 'Nileshwaram' are cited as further examples by Kannada protagonists.

Mangalore MP's native place

Incidentally, the village of Mandekolu in Sullia taluk is the native place of Mangalore's Lok Sabha member Devaragunda Venkappa Sadananda Gowda. It will be interesting to hear his reaction. However, when daijiworld attempted to contact him, he was not available for comment.

(Additional inputs and coordination: Richie Lasrado)

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