The organising committees of Karnataka’s temple fairs are said to have bowed to continuous pressure from right-wing Hindu organization.
In the fallout of the hijab controversy, which has widened religious divides, particularly in Karnataka, news has emerged of Muslim traders being barred from participating in local yearly exhibition, as reported by the Indian Express.
The organising committees of these exhibitions are said to have bowed to continuous pressure from right-wing Hindu organization to remove Muslim-owned stalls. Many Muslim shopkeepers had shut their shops in protest after the Karnataka High Court maintained the ban on hijab in educational institutions in Karnataka.
The annual temple fairs in the state’s coastline area, which take place in April-May, raise millions of rupees. Despite seething communal controversies, such celebrations have seldom impacted any community’s business prospects in the past. However, following a Muslim-led bandh in response to the High Court’s decision on the hijab, numerous temples in the region have banned Muslims from attending their festivals.
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Muslims are not allowed to participate in the Mahalingeshwara Temple’s annual celebration, which will take place on April 20. The organisers make it clear in the invitation that only Hindus are eligible to join in the bid on March 31. The temple officials did not respond to requests for comment.
Similarly, an auction held on March 18 for the annual fair being held this week, the Hosa Marigudi temple in Kaup, Udupi district, refused to allow shops to Muslims. The temple management committee issued a resolution permitting only Hindus to participate in the retail auction.
“Local temple worshipers were upset as Muslims shut their businesses in protest of the HC’s hijab decision”, said Prakash Kukkehalli, Mangaluru division general secretary of the Hindu Jagarana Vedike.
“People who don’t respect the law or the land and who kill the cows that we pray and who is against the unity will not be allowed to do business. We will not allow them to do business. Hindu is aware.”, read a hoarding of the Bappanadui Sri Durgapameshwari temple’s annual festivities.
The Indian Express reported Mangaluru city police commissioner N Shashi Kumar as saying, “We are finding out who installed these flexes. If the civic agency is ready to file a complaint, we will consult our legal team and take action accordingly”,
Mohammed Arif, secretary of the Udupi District Street Vendors’ and Traders’ Association, says that such a scenario has never occurred before. “There are about 700 registered members of which 450 are Muslim. We did not have any business for the last two years because of Covid-19. Now as we begin to start earning again, we have been left out by the temple committees,” Arif told the Indian Express.
Muslim traders were barred from the Kote Marikamba event, which began Tuesday in Shivamogga, where a Bajarang Dal activist was killed.SK Mariyappa, the temple committee’s president, told reporters that the committee had never been communal in the past, but that recent events, particularly on social media, where many have launched campaigns aganist Muslim shopkeeper, forced them to agree to the demand in the interest of the festival’s smooth running.