The State Government on Wednesday said rules framed under the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Rules, 2002, restricted the auction of temporary stalls only to the Hindu community during the annual festivals (jatres) at Hindu temples in the State.
In a reply to an issue raised by Congress Deputy Leader U.T. Khader and Rizwan Arshad (Congress) during the zero hour in the Legislative Assembly, Law and Parliamentary Minister J.C. Madhuswamy said the Congress Government in 2002 framed the rules allowing only Hindu community members to participate in the auction of stalls and setting up shops during the annual festivals.
The 2002 rules clearly state that shops, buildings, and vacant sites located near temples should not be auctioned to non-Hindus. “There is no compromise in implementing the rules,” the Minister said.
Earlier, Mr. Khader and Mr. Arshad took objections to the installation of banners in public places proclaiming that Muslim traders are not allowed to put up stalls at jatres, and said that such incidents disturb communal harmony in the State. They urged the Government to crack down on elements who try to divide society on religious lines. They also demanded that shopkeepers of all faiths be allowed to set up shops during festivals.
Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah said it was not good on the part of temples to auction shops only to the Hindu community shopkeepers during the annual festivals.
Cases of temples in the State restricting auction of temporary stalls to Hindu community for the annual jatre have been reported in some parts of Karnataka in the recent past. The organising committee of the Kote Marikamba Jatra in Shivamogga, for instance, has allowed only Hindu shopkeepers to set up their shops during the five-day festival that commenced on March 22.
Earlier, the Hosa Marigudi Temple in Kaup in Udupi district had also decided to allocate shops to only Hindu vendors during its annual fair. Banners have been put up during the annual fairs of various temples in coastal Karnataka stating that non-Hindu shopkeepers would be banned from setting up stalls/shops.