Muzrai circular on mutts rankles BJP

February 08, 2018 06:48 am | Updated February 09, 2018 04:17 pm IST - Bengaluru

A public notice issued by the Muzrai Department inviting suggestions from stakeholders on whether Hindu mutts, temples and religious institutions should come under the control of Religious Endowment Act has angered BJP.

Calling it an attempt to bring mutts and temples under its control, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Jagadish Shettar urged Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to suspend the process immediately. “The move will force revered seers to stand in queue in front of the department with petitions,” he said, describing it as an “anti-Hindu policy.” He challenged Mr. Siddaramaiah to take over masjid, dargahs and churches.

However, a member of the draft committee clarified that the circular had been issued in the background of the Karnataka High Court’s observation on non-inclusion of mutts, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists under the amendments brought to Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Act, 1997. The court had termed the exclusion as “illegal and discriminatory” and struck down the amendments in 2015, the member said.

Incidentally, the January 29, 2018 public notice, issued by the office of the Commissioner of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments, does not mention this background. It calls upon the public, archakas, temple managements, staff, state’s dharma gurus, seers of mutts, designated successors and others to submit suggestions/objections within 15 days of the issue of public notice. Terming the BJP’s protest against the circular as “political”, the member said that the draft committee had already collected opinions of archakas and administrators of ‘A’ temples in Karnataka.

The draft committee is expected to submit the draft legislation to the Law Ministry within two months.

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