In a letter submitted to the Endowment department, Mohan Gowda (State Spokesman, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti) said that temples are the foundation stones of Hindu Dharma. “They play an extraordinary role in the protection, preservation, and nurturing of Hindu culture. But unfortunately, it has come to light that Non-Hindus have set up business in the Temple premises in contravention of the Karnataka Endowments Act, 1997. This is an attack on the sanctity of the temples and on Hindu culture and a dangerous development overall”, he said.
The Hindu activists argued that non-Hindus are owning chappal (footwear) shops on the premises of Sri Anjaneya Temple in Upparpet, in the central area of Majestic in Bengaluru. Though the lease period expired in 2014, the shopkeepers have continued their businesses in an unauthorised manner to date. This is in contravention of the Karnataka Endowments Act, 1997. Though sections 29 (8) (12) in the aforesaid act specifically mention that non-Hindus should not be given any land, buildings sites, or properties; it has been observed that for the last 40 years Non-Hindus have been participating in annual fairs of some temples coming under the purview of the Endowments Department. Though the Act specifically mentions excluding people who may destroy the sanctity and heritage of the temples, in a crime that is in clear violation of the act, Non-Hindus have been permitted. The failure of the department officials to take any action regarding the protection of the temples shows their irresponsibility.
Many temples in coastal Karnataka have already barred non-Hindus from taking part in temple fairs. The same has been adopted in Shivamogga. The shops in the Marikamba fair have been allotted only to Hindus this time
“In the backdrop of threats to the life of judges who had given the Hijab verdict, these issues are a serious hazard to the safety and security of the temples. The State Government will be solely responsible if there are attacks on the temples along the lines of the terror attack on Raghunath Mandir in Jammu, Akshardham, and Ayodhya, if Non-Hindus are permitted to own shops, etc. on temple premises. The Government should consider this issue seriously. We have requested that the Endowment Department should take immediate action to vacate all non-Hindus, who have been owning shops in contravention of the Karnataka Endowments Act, 1997, and also give contracts only to Hindus. Further, a special order is released by the Endowment Department to exclude non-Hindus and those not having faith in Hinduism from the contracts to own shops and other related temple activities,” Gowda said.
It may be noted that many temples in coastal Karnataka have already barred non-Hindus from taking part in temple fairs. The same has been adopted in Shivamogga. The shops in the Marikamba fair have been allotted only to Hindus this time. A state-level Hindu activist said, “We believe in the constitution but Muslims don’t believe in this. When the High Court had banned Hijab, many Muslims violated the HC order by taking part in the bandh. When they don’t respect the constitution, we don’t believe in buying items from them. So, we have decided why Muslims should do business in Hindu programs.”