Religious Politics, BJP Leader H Vishwanath Slams Karnataka Government

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H Vishwanath is one of the leaders who brought down Congress-JDS coalition in 2019

Bengaluru:

A senior BJP leader in Karnataka has slammed right-wing organisations’ call to ban Muslim traders from temple premises as a retaliatory gesture to the hijab row. H Vishwanath, a member of Karnataka’s legislative council, has also accused the government of “indulging in religious politics”.

“We have Muslims living in other countries too. These Muslims sell food and flowers. How does it matter?” he said. “They’re petty business-people, what will they eat? Hindu, Muslim doesn’t matter. It is a question of empty stomachs,” he added.

Mr Vishwanath said the government is watching the clash between the two communities unfold in the state as a mute spectator. The government, he said, “must take a stand” and added that he has already “raised objections” with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.

“This is BJP’s government, not Bajrang Dal, RSS (BJP’s ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) or some factions,” he asserted.

Asked if the state is succumbing to right wing pressure, Mr Vishwanath, however, declined to respond.

Over the last couple of weeks, a demand was raised by right-wing organisations in Udupi – the Ground Zero of the hijab row – that non-Hindu traders be banned from temple premises. The organisations cited a bandh call by a section of Muslims against the Karnataka High Court verdict upholding the state government’s ban on hijab.

Soon after, the authorities of the Maari Gudi temple in Udupi’s Kaup did not allot any land to Muslims during the Suggi Maari Puja festival on March 22 and 23.

Starting there, the demand to ban non-Hindu traders and vendors at temple fairs and religious events spread. Many right-wing organisations submitted memorandums to temple authorities in various parts of the state.

H Vishwanath is one of the key leaders who brought down the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in 2019, allowing the BJP, led by BS Yediyurappa, to stake claim to form government.

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