A Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Karnataka on Monday said that the Constitution gives everyone equal opportunities, after some temple authorities imposed bans on Muslim traders at annual fairs, reported PTI.

The MLA, Anil Benake, said it was wrong to tell people where they could purchase items from.

“There is no question of imposing any restrictions during the temple fair, we will not impose [them]...” he told reporters. “Everyone has the opportunity to carry out their activities, but people have to become clever. People have to decide where to buy what.”

In recent weeks, several temples in Karnataka have banned Muslim traders from opening stalls at annual fairs. The Hosa Marigudi temple in Mangaluru’s Kaup town did not allot stalls to Muslims during an auction for an annual fair held on March 22 and March 23.

In the Dakshina Kannada district, banners were placed at the Bappandu Durgaparameshwari temple, the Mangaladevi temple and the Puttur Mahalingeshwara temple barring non-Hindus from setting up stalls at fairs.

Muslims have reportedly been running stalls at these fairs for many years. However, Hindutva organisations have recently objected to their participation after many Muslims closed their shops to protest the Karnataka High Court verdict upholding the state’s ban on wearing hijab at schools and colleges.

On March 23, Karnataka Law Minister JC Madhuswamy had said in the state Assembly that according to the Hindu Religious Institutions And Charitable Endowments Act, there is a ban on leasing space near a Hindu religious institution to a non-Hindu, reported the Hindustan Times.

“If these recent incidents of banning Muslim traders have occurred outside the premises of the religious institutions, we will rectify them,” he had said. “Otherwise, as per norms, no other community is allowed to set up shop on the premises.”

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai also had said that according to the law, non-Hindus cannot run stalls near temples during festivals.

However, on Monday, BJP MLC AH Vishwanath had called the ban on Muslims traders at temple fairs “insanity”. He had asked if the state government could provide jobs for non-resident Indians if Muslim countries were to start sending them back.