A day after Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw appealed to Karnataka Chief Minister (CM) Basavaraj Bommai to resolve the "growing religious divide" in the state, he said that everyone should "behave with restraint and cooperate to maintain peace and order".
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the executive chairperson of Biocon Ltd, on Wednesday, 30 March, had appealed to Bommai, warning that if the tech and biotech sector was communally-divided, it would destroy the "global leadership" of the country.
Bommai said in the Assembly, "The school uniform issue has been resolved already. We have been living with our beliefs on various issues over the years. Karnataka is known for peace and progress. Everyone should show restraint. It is possible to resolve the social issues that arise through peaceful talks. So everyone should behave with restraint and cooperate to maintain peace and order."
Speaking about a different issue, Bommai said he had requested the Andhra Pradesh CM to provide protection for devotees from Karnataka who visit Srisailam in AP. This comes after several pilgrims from Karnataka, who were returning from Srisailam, were reportedly injured after local pilgrims and those from outside Andhra Pradesh clashed on Wednesday.
"Pilgrims from Karnataka have been assaulted at Srisailam. A large number of pilgrims from other states visit Srisailam for the religious jatra (fair). The pilgrims from outside should be given proper protection," Bommai said.
"I have been in constant contact with Andhra Pradesh officials since yesterday night. The situation is now in control. Two pilgrims were seriously injured and hospitalised. They are recovering. Efforts are on to speak to the Andhra Pradesh chief minister," he said.
What Had Shaw Said?
Shaw's statement came after Muslim traders were denied permission to set shops in Shivamogga's Kote Marikamba Jatra festival amid pressure from Hindutva groups, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, who demanded that only Hindu shopkeepers be allowed to do business on temple premises.
Shaw had tweeted on Wednesday,
"Karnataka has always forged inclusive economic development and we must not allow such communal exclusion- If ITBT became communal it would destroy our global leadership. BS Bommai please resolve this growing religious divide."
In a separate tweet, she had said, "Our CM is a very progressive leader. I am sure he will resolve this issue soon."
First Corporate Voice Against Communal Divide
The Kote Marikamba Jatra, a biennial festival held in the month of February or March, is a five-day-long fair held around the Marikamba temple in Shivamogga.
The Biocon chief’s reaction holds significance as it is the first condemnation from a top corporate executive against the communal rumbling in India’s technology capital.
Karnataka Law Minister JC Madhuswamy had sought to justify the posters banning Muslim vendors by citing a little-known law and its rules, saying:
"While framing rules to Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act in 2002, Rule 12 states that no property including land, building or site situated near the institution shall be leased to non-Hindus. Citing these rules, posters and banners have been put up."
Muslim vendors and traders have also been banned in Udupi for the Hosa Margudi and Kollur Mookambika temple fairs, the Bappandu Durgaparameshwari temple, Mangaladevi temple, and Puttur Mahalingeshwara temple in Dakshina Kannada district.
(With inputs from The Indian Express.)