Karnataka temple bans Muslim traders from selling wares at fairtext_fields
Bengaluru: Once again, Muslim traders have been banned from selling their wares at the Bappanadu temple fair in Mulky in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka after temple authorities issued a notification. This means Muslims will not take part in trade in the annual fair in the temple, built by a Muslim merchant in the 12th century, as per legend, The News Minute reported.
The temple committee claimed the decision was taken after local residents submitted a memorandum, demanding the exclusion of Muslims from temple premises.
The lore behind the establishment, Bappanadu temple or the Durga Parameshwari temple, officially suggests that a Muslim merchant, Bappa Beary’s boat ran aground in the Shambhavi river when he had a vision of goddess Durga, who instructed him to build a shrine for her.
Though traders made appeals to withdraw the decision, the committee refused, saying that there is a 2002 law that states non-Hindus should not be allowed to lease property within and near temples.
But Rule 31(12) says that the law is for immovable property located near a temple and does not apply to providing licences to temporary stalls at fairs.
Activists argued that the decision by the temple authorities is a violation of 15(1) and Article 15(2), and it is condemnable that the government is not taking cognisance of the economic boycott Muslims face.
As per Article 15(1), the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them. Article 15 (2) further forbids any “disability, liability, restriction or condition” with regard to access to “shops, restaurants, hotels”, and more.
Also the Supreme Court also held that excluding Muslim traders from temple fairs is unconstitutional.
TNM reports that there is an aggressive campaign of economic boycotts run by Hindutva groups in the coastal districts of Karnataka. Muslims were excluded from 6 temple fairs last year, TNM learnt. Banners were erected notifying the ban on Muslims, and Hindutva outfits evicted those who turned up from the community.
There were exceptions, though, like the Kapu Maari Pooje festival, which allowed Muslim traders. In Kadri Sri Manjunatha temple, Mangaluru police removed posters and banners that called for the exclusion of Muslims.