Karnataka: Amid curbs on Muslim traders at temple fair, vendors display saffron flags

Shivamogga (Karnataka) [India]: Amid controversy over banning Muslims from setting up stalls at temple fairs in Karnataka, vendors at the historic ‘Kote Marikamba Jatra’ in Shivamogga have put up saffron flags at their stalls.

A Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Deen Dayal defended the practice, saying that it is not wrong to put up saffron flags at the stalls. “The flag is a symbol of Hindu religion. We have accommodated only Hindu vendors to open shops,” he said.

The VHP leader said, “Buyers and sellers should be Hindus. That is the reason, we banned Muslim shops here, as those who are worshipping Hindu deities should do business on our premises.”

The five-day festival of ‘Kote Marikamba Jatra’, where devotees offer prayers to Goddess Marikamba, commenced on March 23 with only Hindus being permitted to set up stalls.

At several other fairs across the state as well, some temple authorities and organizing committees of fairs have barred Muslims from doing business, after the hijab row in Karnataka. For years, Muslims have been setting up stalls at such annual fairs at temples.

In the backdrop of protest against wearing hijab at educational institutions, some of the temple authorities and organising committees have barred Muslim traders from participating in the festival, the first such incident in the state.

Several organisations objected to the participation of Muslim traders after many of them had closed their shops to protest the Karnataka High Court verdict upholding the state’s ban on hijabs at educational institutions. (ANI)


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