The move came after outfits such as Hindu Jagarana Vedike and Tulunadu Hindu Sena, Kapu, appealed to the temple management not to allow Muslim traders during a two-day religious fair.

The notice put up by the temple authorities barring non-Hindu vendors from setting up stalls
news Controversy Wednesday, March 23, 2022 - 17:21

The Maari Gudi temple management at Kapu town in Udupi district of coastal Karnataka has decided not to allow 'people from other faith' to do business on its land during the annual temple festival on the request of certain pro-Hindu organisations. The step was taken after outfits such as Hindu Jagarana Vedike and Tulunadu Hindu Sena, Kapu, appealed to the temple management not to allow the Muslim traders during the two-day religious fair on Tuesday, March 22 and Wednesday, March 23.

The organisations said the Muslims had supported a bandh against the High Court verdict on the hijab issue, which showed their disregard for the law of the land and the judicial system in India. "The pro-Hindu organisations submitted a memorandum asking us to allow only Hindu traders during the Marigudi festival and not the people from other faiths. Accordingly, the temple management has decided not to give land on rent belonging to the temple management to anyone who is not a Hindu. Only Hindus will be given space to do business," an executive officer of the temple told reporters in Kapu.

In a memorandum to the temple management, Kapu-based Tulunadu Hindu Sena appealed that no Muslim should be allowed to do trading during the 'Suggi Maari Puja' festival. "No Muslim should be given place to put up stalls during the Maari Puja festival. If the Muslims are allowed to put up their stalls, you (temple authorities) alone will be responsible for the problem and the danger. Hence, you should not give place to Muslims to put up stalls," the Hindu Sena warned.

Prakash K of the Hindu Jagarana Vedike said the Maari Puje in Kapu town is a very big festival in Udupi district in which a large number of Muslim traders do business here. "Those who have no respect for our gods, our religious places and follow a different faith should not do business during our religious festivals. This was the appeal by the Hindu community to the Marigudi temple management," he told reporters.

Explaining the reason behind the appeal, he said recently the Muslim traders had observed bandh across the state against the hijab verdict by the Karnataka High Court. The full bench of the Karnataka High Court led by Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi in its March 15 order dismissed petitions by some girls from Udupi who had demanded that hijab should be permitted inside the educational institutions where there is a uniform dress rule.

The court said hijab is not an essential religious practice and uniform dress rule should be followed. Two days after the verdict, Muslims on a call given by the Ameer-e-Shariat Maulana Sagir Ahmed Khan Rashdi, observed the bandh on March 17. They did not open their shops and business establishments.

"They (Muslims) don't have any respect for the law of the land and the High Court verdict," Prakash said. According to him, the temple management has responded positively to the request of the Hindu community and they have decided not to allow people from a different faith to do business within the temple premises this time.

"Allowing people from different faiths to do business on the temple premises would lead to conflict in future because today, the Hindu society is in anger. It can go to another level," Prakash said.

The Hindu organisation leader said this trend will not be restricted to Kapu alone but everywhere. He added that Muslims will not be allowed to do business in the Ujire religious festival. "They should not be allowed to do business during our festivals. Because we had opposed the cow slaughter in Gangolli, Muslims boycotted purchasing fish from Hindu fisherwomen. Despite being less in number, when they are showing their might, why shouldn't we the majority Hindus show ours?" he said.

Meanwhile, the Udupi district secretary of Communist Party of India (Marxist) Balakrishna Shetty wrote to the Deputy Commissioner of Udupi to intervene and ensure that such developments not be allowed as it may take a different dimension across the state and lead to polarisation on communal lines.

Talking to PTI, the All India Co-convener of Bajrang Dal, Suryanarayana Rao clarified that the organisation is not against Muslims but only those who oppose the rule of the land and the High Court verdict on hijab. He added that the 'Hindu awareness drive' will continue in other parts of the state against the "anti-national elements, who oppose the Constitution, judiciary and the political system".

Meanwhile, the Udupi District Street Vendors and Traders Association has urged the district administration to allow Muslim street vendors to carry out business during Hindu festivals and annual temple fairs. Speaking to reporters in Udupi, the association district secretary Mohammed Arif said banners were placed during the annual Kaup Marigudi festival stating that Muslim vendors should not be allowed entry. Similar banners were also displayed in the Padubidri temple festival.

All Hindu and Muslim vendors were doing business like brothers so far, Arif said, adding that Muslim street vendors used to do business in festivals of all temples. “We request the temple administration committees to allow us to do business like before,” he said.

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