Kote Marikamba jatra attracts crowd

March 23, 2022 07:24 pm | Updated 10:04 pm IST - Hassan

Devotees at the Kote Marikamba Jatre in Shivamogga on Wednesday.

Devotees at the Kote Marikamba Jatre in Shivamogga on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The Kote Marikamba Jatre which began in Shivamogga on Tuesday has been attracting hundreds of devotees. Many people from neighbouring taluks and districts are taking part in the religious programmes and the procession held as part of the festival.

This time the event attracted attention across the State as Hindutva activists opposed Muslim people putting up stalls during the festival. The event-organising committee handed over the responsibility of allotting the stalls to Hindutva groups. As a result, only Hindu shopkeepers were allowed to do business. They were asked to place saffron flags in all shops.

Deen Dayal, a leader of Bajrang Dal, has defended th action, stating that for many years they had contemplated avoiding Muslims from putting up stalls during the event. However, this time they succeeded in achieving by taking up the tender to allot stalls. “Why should do they do business in our event”, he asked.

However, many residents of the city, who had been witnessing the festival for decades, were unhappy with the development. M. Chandrashekhar, a government employee, said people irrespective of caste and religion participated in the event all these years. “We should make efforts to continue the tradition of harmony. But, whatever is happening now is not good for the city and state”, he said.

During the procession of the deity, a few youths chanted ‘Jai Sriram’ slogan. Countering it, another group of youths raised “Jai Maramma’ slogans. Many participants said that for the first time they were hearing such slogans during the festival.

A couple of Muslim youths won the hearts of the devotees by offering pieces of cucumber and juice packets to people, who stood in long queues braving the hot sun.

The festival will come to an end on Saturday.

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