No Stalls for Muslims at Shivamogga Festival After Hindutva Groups' Campaign
Surrendering to pressure, the festival committee has given the tender for the allotment of shops to Hindutva groups.
The organising committee of the Kote Marikamba Jatra, which will be held in Karnataka's Shivamogga from 22 March, has reportedly refused to allot shops to Muslim traders in the festival.
This comes after leaders of the BJP, and right-wing groups Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, demanded that only Hindu shopkeepers be allowed to do business in the festival, The Hindu reported. Surrendering to the pressure, the committee has given the tender for the allotment of shops to Hindutva groups.
Committee President SK Mariyappa told The Hindu that the festival's organisation panel has never been coloured by communal biases in the past. "But, some people launched a campaign on social media platforms against allowing Muslim shopkeepers. Only three days are left for the festival to start. We agreed to their demand in the interest of smooth conduct of the festival," he stated.
The Shree Kote Marikamba Seva Samiti president said that another person had won the tender earlier, but he gave it up after receiving some alleged threat calls, The New Indian Express reported.
While asserting that the Samiti does not interfere with the tender-holder in the allotment of stalls, Mariyappa said that members of the Muslim community will be taking part in different activities related to the fair, such as providing rice and other essential products for the jatra.
The communal dissensions come after the district witnessed protracted tensions between Hindu and Muslim communities in February, when Bajrang Dal activist Harsha was murdered.
The Kote Marikamba Jatra, a biennial festival held in the month of February or March, is a five-day-long fair is held around the Marikamba temple in Shivamogga. It is one of Karnataka's major festivals, and attracts lakhs of people.
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