Non-Hindus cannot do business in and around temples: Karnataka govt

Minister says government cannot interfere in the ban on Muslim traders when it comes to them setting up shops or stalls in or around Hindu shrines

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Non-Hindus are not allowed to do business in and around the premises of Hindu temples, as per The Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (HCRE) Act, 2002, Karnataka Law Minister JC Madhuswamy told the state assembly on Wednesday (March 23).

The government cannot interfere in the ban on Muslim traders when it comes to them setting up shops or stalls in or around Hindu shrines, he said.

Madhuswamy was responding to question posed by Congress deputy leader in the state UT Khader and the Congress’s Shivajinagar MLA Rizwan Arshad.

The opposition leaders took objection to certain posters that were being put up in these regions declaring that Muslim vendors will not be able to put up stalls at the upcoming jatres (temple festivals).

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“As per the The Hindu Religious Institutions And Charitable Endowments Act and Rules that were framed in 2002, it is prohibited to lease out the space near a Hindu religious institution to a person of another faith. If these recent incidents of banning Muslim traders have occurred outside the premises of the religious institutions, we will rectify. Otherwise, as per norms, no other community is allowed to set up shop on the premises,” Madhuswamy said.

The minister said the rules were made when the Congress was in power. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, too, promised to look into the issue by examining the applicability of the rules.

“The government must uphold the dignity of roadside vendors as they work hard to fend for their families. Certain miscreants are trying to create a discord between communities. In many instances, Hindu brethren have themselves put a stop to such propaganda. However, the police are mute spectators,” Khader said.

Arshad, too, appealed to the government to protect the constitutional rights of the minority community.

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