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B Upendran | HENB | Hassan | March 30, 2023:: Hindutva activists on Tuesday demonstrated against a peculiar ’90-year-old tradition’ of the recitation of Quranic verses at a temple festival in Hassan district, at a time BJP leaders and Sangh Parivar outfits have been trying to polarise voters ahead of the Assembly polls, as alleged by the Congress party. Strange enough that such a ‘secular stance’ is only seen in Hindu temples, but no Mosque or Chruch India allows the reading of the Gita, Ved, Upanishads, Ramayana, or Mahabharat in those Semitic festivals.
Members of the VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) Bajrang Dal and the little-known Kesari Yuva Pade (Kesari Youth Army) protested near the 12th-century Chennakeshava (Vishnu) temple in Beluru town, some 220km from Bangalore after government and temple authorities ignored their demand to scrap the Quran recital.
This year’s Quran recital, which kicks off the two-day annual Rathotsava or chariot festival, is scheduled for April 4.
“We had submitted memorandums to the festival organising committee, executive officer of the state Muzrai (religious affairs) department and the local tehsildar, explaining our objection to the recital of Quranic verses at the Hindu temple festival. But none of them responded,” Bajrang Dal state coordinator Raghu Sakleshpura told HENB on Tuesday. The Hindutva organisations took the matter of Quran reading in temples as a symbol of ‘Islamic aggression’ in the cultural and dharmik autonomy of Hindus.
A Muzrai department document says, without elaborating, that the Quran recital was started in 1932 as a nod to communal amity. But, the department has not had sufficient documents on how such a peculiar move was introduced in a Hindu temple and trend afterward as a ‘tradition’.
“Earlier, Congress governments made it an integral part of the festival itself, giving the Quran recital so much primacy,” Raghu said. “Our question is, will Muslim religious places allow Hindu chants?”
He added: “Alauddin Khilji’s general plundered the temple in the 14th century. The Congress governments ignored this fact to encourage the Quran recital.”
The temple administrator had last year sought the Muzrai department’s opinion on the continuation of the Quran recital against opposition from Hindutva organisations.
The then department commissioner, Rohini Sindhuri, had directed the temple to continue the ritual citing Section 58 of the Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, which prohibits any interference in temple practices.
A resident of a neighbouring village, Kazi Syed Pasha, recites the Quranic verses standing in front of Lord Chennakeshava’s chariot — as his ancestors had done before him — in the presence of thousands of Hindu devotees. Many Hindus just take it as a submission of Islam to a Hindu deity and others take it as a simple amusement. But, a maximum of Hindus does not know the hate speech of Quran to kill non-believers and the arrogance of Islam over other religions.
Commissioned by King Vishnuvardhana in AD 1117, the Chennakeshava temple was built over 103 years. It bears Hindu, Buddhist and Jain influences and is considered an architectural attraction. The shrine later came under the control of the Vijayanagara empire.
The heat of the situation over Quran recitation in the Chennakeshava temple raised the mercury in a poll-bound Karnataka, but Hindus here are not ready to tolerate a silent Arabic invasion in a Karnataka Hindutva domain anymore.
__Inputs from TT India.
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