The Karnataka government on Monday transferred Nanjangud Tahsildar Mohan Kumari in the aftermath of the demolition of a temple in Nanjangud taluk which took place on September 8. In an order dated September 27, the state government wrote that Mohan Kumari will be replacing Bengaluru tahsildar SM Shivakumar; and that the transfer was in the ‘best interest’ of the public and in taluk administration.
Based on a Supreme Court order from 2009, the Mysuru district officials had been doing a drive to demolish illegal religious structures that were obstructing public places. The SC order was invoked by the Karnataka High Court recently, when the Akhila Bharatiya Kshatriya Mahasabha filed a petition against installation of a statue of a Lingayat seer. The high court then asked officials to implement the 2009 order of the Supreme Court. The razing of the temple in question created an uproar as the ruling-BJP government did not only receive flak from some members of the opposition, Hindutva groups like Hindu Jagarana Vedike and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) but also from members of the ruling party like BJP MP Pratap Simha.
The SC orders that the authorities cited instructed the demolition of several illegal structures, including many religious buildings. Furthermore, the authorities had said that the demolished temple was not an ancient structure as was being claimed, but a 12-year-old place. It does not come under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) either, the administration had said.
Hindu Jagrana Vedike, the Hindutva outfit, had announced a massive protest against the Mysuru district administration which was planning to demolish 97 places of worship that were allegedly illegally constructed. Members of the group had assaulted a Mysuru journalist while they were protesting outside the Kote Anjaneya temple on September 16.
After the backlash, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had instructed the district officials to hold the demolition until clear guidelines were issued by the state government. Subsequently, a bill was tabled in the state Assembly on September 20. The Karnataka Religious Structures (Protection) Bill was then passed by voice vote on September 21, a day after it was introduced in the house.