Posters and banners have been put up in temples and shops, stating that Muslim shops are prohibited from setting up stalls and shops at temple festivals in coastal Karnataka.
According to the residents, the ban on Muslim shops from doing business results from pressure exerted by right-wing groups on temple committees.
Right-wing groups argued that since Muslim organizations are calling for bans and shutting down their businesses after the hijab row verdict, temples should also do the same by not allowing Muslim shop owners to do business at their annual fairs.
Muslims are expressly barred from being part of an auction to set up stalls at the annual fair that has been scheduled to be held at Mahalingeshwara Temple in Puttar Taluk on April 20. The auction ad explicitly states that only Hindus can bid on stalls.
Muslims are also prohibited from selling at the annual celebration of the Bappanadu Shri Durgaparmeshwari temple in the Dakshina Kannada district. In circulating posters, it is written that people who do not respect the law of the land kill cows will not be allowed to do business. The statement was closed with the sentence “Hindus Are Aware.”
Mangaluru City Police Commissioner Shashi Kumar said that local tahsildar would visit the area to find out who installed the flexes. He added that the police would take further action if the civil agency were ready to file a complaint.
Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah regretted the attitude of district officials who did not take any action to follow up on the matter. It seems that they are indirectly allowing this to happen.
UT Khader’s MLA Congress in the Karnataka Assembly raised the issue. He said that the people who put up the banners in public places were trying to disturb the harmony, strict action should be taken against them.
Law Minister Madhuswamy responded by saying that the government does not encourage such behavior. He said that if the banner is installed outside the building, they can rectify it. On the other hand, if the banner is inside the temple building, his party is not authorized to correct it.
He added that since 2022, there had been a rule that the Congress government prohibits non-Hindus from having contracts in religious institutions.