Temple authorities in many parts of coastal Karnataka have banned Muslim traders from opening stalls at annual fairs, The Indian Express reported.
Muslims have reportedly been running stalls at these fairs for many years. However, Hindutva organisations recently objected to the participation of traders from the community after many Muslims closed their shops to protest the Karnataka High Court verdict upholding the state’s ban on hijabs at schools and colleges.
Prakash Kukkehalli, the Hindu Jagarana Vedike’s Mangaluru division general secretary, said that some temple worshippers were outraged by Muslims closing their shops in protest on March 17.
The Hosa Marigudi temple at the town of Kaup in Mangaluru district did not allot stalls to Muslims during an auction for an annual fair, the Suggi Mari Pooje, The Hindu reported. The fair began on Tuesday and will continue till Wednesday.
Ramesh Hegde, the president of the temple management committee, said that Hindu organisations had appealed to them not to give stalls to Muslims as they did not respect the High Court’s judgement in the hijab case. “As over a lakh people would visit the festival on two days, there should not be any law and order problem,” he said. “So a consensus decision was taken.”
Hegde said that shops were auctioned only to Hindus and those who were allotted shops were told not to sub-let them to Muslims.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal also appealed to the Kollur gram panchayat in the Udupi district not to allow non-Hindu traders at the Kollur Mookambika temple fair, the Deccan Herald reported on Tuesday.
In the Dakshina Kannada district, banners were placed in front of the Bappandu Durgaparameshwari temple, Mangaladevi temple and Puttur Mahalingeshwara temple banning non-Hindus from setting up stalls at fairs. “No permission for those who are against Constitution and those who kill cattle,” a banner reportedly read.
Mangaluru police commissioner N Shashi Kumar said that the police are finding out who installed the banners. “If the civic agency is ready to file a complaint, we will consult our legal team and take action accordingly,” he said, according to The Indian Express.
Mohammed Arif, the secretary of District Street Vendors’ and Traders’ Association, claimed that Muslim traders had not been banned in such a manner before. “There are about 700 registered members of which 450 are Muslim,” he said. “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.”