Can the name of a non-Hindu be included in the invitation letter for a temple festival?
The seemingly innocuous question has led to a row in Puttur near here over printing the name of Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner A B Ibrahim on the invitation card for this year's car festival at the Lord Mahalingeshwara temple in the locality.
Puttur MLA Shakuntala Shetty of the Congress called a press meet at Puttur yesterday saying printing the name of the DC had given rise to discordant notes.
As per provisions of the Hindu Religious Endowments Act, names of non-Hindus could not be printed in temple invitations, she said.
Shetty, who was formerly with the BJP, said she had taken up the issue seriously and was determined to see that the DC's name was removed from the invitation and a corrected card printed.
If the temple authorities refused to print the invitation afresh, Shetty said she would print a new one at her personal cost.
There would have been no problem if the temple authorities had just mentioned the post in the invitation without the name, she said.
She said her prime concern was holding the car festival without giving room for any kind of discordance and without undermining the sanctity of the temple.
She hoped the issue would be solved at the meeting of devotees to be convened on March 16.
Local municipal councillor Rajesh Bannur also said though they had nothing personal against the DC, the inclusion of his name had clearly violated provisions of the Religious Endowments Department.
Responding to the demand, Ibrahim said the invitation prepared by the temple was in order and no legal provision had been transgressed.
He said he would talk to the MLA and convince her on the issue.
The temple administrative officer S Jagadish said he had so far not received any directive to reprint the invitation.
The 10-day car festival is held on April 17 every year in the famous temple at Puttur, 52 km from here, which attracts thousands of devotees from different parts of the state.