Hindu outfits in Karnataka targeting Muslim traders continued their protest and tried to stop non-Hindu traders from conducting business in several parts of the state, including the Anjanadri Hill in the Koppal district. However, the district administration stepped in and removed the banners that were put up and warned legal action against those behind them.
Anjanadri Hill located in the Koppal district in North Karnataka, which is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman, is a religious shrine that sees a good footfall of devotees throughout the year. On Tuesday, on the occasion of the ‘Hanuman Mala Vrit Visarjana’ event, Muslims had also installed shops even as there were posters demanding not to allow non-Hindus to conduct business.
According to sources, the banners were put up by the members of Hindu Jagarana Vedike. The temple authorities brought the issue to the notice of the district administration and police and the banners were removed later.
A large number of devotees, who wear Hanuman Mala annually, are expected to visit the shrine over the next few weeks.
Shrikanth, a leader from Hindu Jagran Vedike in Gangavathi, told the media they are demanding a ban against non-Hindu traders from doing business at all Hindu shrines in the state, including Anjanadri Hills. “You saw the recent arrests in terror accused cases and Hindu temples are under the radar of anti-national elements,” he said.
Despite support from the district administration, some of the non-Hindu vendors have shut down their shops till the situation cools down and some have shifted their stalls away from the shrines. This is the second year in a row that this campaign has been launched by Hindu outfits.
In a similar incident, some members of a Hindu outfit demanded to a Muslim vendor to remove his shop near the Mangodu Subrahmanya Temple in the state’s Udupi district but the villagers intervened and sent them away.
Sadashiva Katte, a local resident, said the incident took place on Saturday when a Muslim vendor had opened a soda and juice shop near the temple. Members of the rightwing outfit came to the spot and demanded the vendor to shift his shop. “We villagers stood with the Muslim trader and sent those members away. The Muslim trader is a local and has been doing business for a long time,” said Katte.
Katte said it has become a trend to disturb peace and harmony in order to gain publicity using these cheap tricks. “Our Grama Panchayat has about 5,000 people and there are many Muslims. Once we all stood with the Muslim trader, they left the place silently,” he added.
In Kodagu, Hindu activists sent away Muslim traders who were doing business near the Harihara Subramanya Temple in Ponnampete. Ambika, the district coordinator of Durga Vahini, a Hindu outfit, told the Muslim traders non-Hindus were not allowed to do business on the temple premises. Ambika claimed the Muslim youth were using fake identity cards such as Aadhaar cards with Hindu names.
When The Indian Express tried to contact Kodagu Superintendent of Police Captain MA Aiyappa, he did not receive the calls made.