Updated: March 23, 2022 10:50:09 pm
After reports emerged of Muslims shopkeepers being banned from an annual temple festival in coastal Karnataka, the law minister has told the Assembly the BJP government does not encourage such curbs, adding that it was a Congress government which had made the rule not to lease temple premises to non-Hindus.
On Wednesday JC Madhuswamy cited Rule 12 of the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 2002, which states that no property including land, building or site situated near Hindu institutions shall be leased to non-Hindus. “The government is not encouraging such behaviour. If banners are put outside [temple] premises, we will take action,” the minister said.
Madhuswamy was replying to a Congress MLA’s statement that temple trusts were dividing society further by not allowing Muslims to participate in auctions or to set up their shops during festivals. “The history of the coastal district has several examples where Muslims and Hindus have lived in peace and harmony and celebrated festivals together. But recently some cowardly people are installing flex boards that Muslims are not allowed. It has set a bad example. Fortunately, Hindus have taken a stand not to entertain such things in some places,” the MLA said.
Best of Express Premium
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai suggested that people who got temple premises on lease, not the temple authorities, were to blame if Muslim vendors were being discriminated against. “We will see what can be done,” he said in the Assembly.
Home Minister Araga Jnanendra has sought reports from the police and said the government will keep a close watch on the law and order situation.
Meanwhile at Upparpete, in the heart of the state capital, some Muslim vendors were forced to close their shops after Hindu right-wing activists objected to their presence.
In Bengaluru rural district’s Nelamangala, organisers of next month’s Basaveshwara temple festival are facing similar pressure from Hindu right-wing organisations to ban Muslims vendors. Jagadeesh, a member of the temple committee, said, “Some people claiming to be Bajrang Dal members came to us and insisted Muslim vendors should not be allowed during the annual festival. We have been living peacefully for several generations, and we have been allowed to do business irrespective of religion. We told them we cannot change the rule this time and sent them back.”
🗞 Subscribe Now: Get Express Premium to access our in-depth reporting, explainers and opinions 🗞️
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.