News Brief

Demolition Of Temple Causes Anger In Mysuru: District Administration's Drive Suspended After CM Bommai's Intervention

Swarajya Staff

Sep 15, 2021, 07:46 PM | Updated 07:46 PM IST

Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai
Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai
  • Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha has alleged that the officers of the Mysore district administration are targeting only temples, and sparing shrines of other faiths.
  • Following popular backlash and condemnation from political leaders such as former chief minister Siddaramaiah and ruling party MP Pratap Simha, the Mysuru district administration has temporarily suspended the demolition of 'illegally constructed' religious structures in public places.

    Review ordered after Bommai’s intervention

    Mysore City Corporation Commissioner Lakshmikanth Reddy said that the corporation was acting on the orders of the Supreme Court. According to a list compiled in 2009, as many as 96 religious structures were marked for demolition.

    The corporation has now decided to resurvey the list.

    The corporation has decided to resurvey and analyse whether the temples could be “regularised” or relocated as per the order. The demolition of religious structures outraged some outfits with several leaders and Hindu outfits staging protests, reported the Deccan Herald.

    The decision came on a day when Simha said that he had brought the issue of the destruction of the ancient Mahadevamma Temple to the notice of Chief Minister Basvaraj Bommai, who had assured him of suspending the demolition across the state, and reviewing the list of temples identified for demolition.

    Simha also emphasised upon the need to code all the temples in order to save them from such demolition drives in the future.

    Siddaramaiah’s condemnation

    Earlier, former Karnataka chief minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah took to Twitter to condemn the development. The Congress leader also urged Karnataka CM Bommai to order an impartial inquiry into the matter to fix responsibility for the demolition.

    Siddaramaiah added that the state government must rebuild the temple in some other location.

    “The destruction of an ancient temple in Nanjangud is a reprehensible act. This is a religious matter and before making such a decision @BJP4Karnataka should have held a dialogue with the locals. Despite the court order, the district administration had to think about the impact it would have on the district before it was implemented. Those who pretend to be the protectors of Hinduism did not think of Hindutva before such action?” questioned Siddaramaiah.

    Interestingly, Siddaramaiah’s stance seems contradictory to many other leaders of his party, like former minister and Congress leader Tanveer Sait, who earlier accused Simha of communalising an issue of encroachment for political mileage.

    It is noteworthy that Mysuru is Siddaramaiah’s hometown, from where his son Dr Yathindra is an MLA. His attempts at raking up this issue could assure him crucial political gains given the public outrage on the issue.

    Selective razing of Hindu temples?

    In July this year, state chief secretary P. Ravi Kumar wrote a letter to the deputy commissioners of all districts saying that there are 6,395 religious structures in public places in Karnataka that are illegally built.

    On 29 September 2009, their number was 5,688. He wrote that in 12 years, the government has been able to demolish or relocate or regulate only 2,887 structures.

    In August, Ravikumar asked for a follow-up report on the pending demolition drive based on the Supreme Court and High court rulings. Following this meeting, the concerned authorities resumed the demolition drive and many roadside structures were razed, including the ancient Mahadevamma temple in Nanjangud, Mysuru.

    BJP MP Pratap Simha’s tweet, questioning the demolition of this very temple, was a major part of the furore that followed.

    Mysuru-Kodagu MP Simha took severe exception to equating temples with churches and mosques. Visiting the 101 Ganapathi Temple at Agrahara and addressing the media this morning, he said, “Churches and mosques cannot be weighed equally with temples as they are just prayer halls.”

    He alleged that the officers in the district administration were targeting only temples, leaving out the rest.

    Simha warned of launching a ‘Save Temples’ movement. “We have learnt that the authorities have decided to demolish the 101 Ganapati Temple on September 22. This was constructed in 1955 and people from across the city and district have a virtuous bonding with the temple for decades. The district administration should not play with the emotions, attachments and religious feelings of the people,” he noted, reports Star of Mysore.

    Hindu outfits and district administration at loggerheads

    As per a Times of India report, Uchachagani villagers have decided to hold a protest in Mysuru on September 16 against the demolition of Mahadevamma Temple.

    Many Hindu organisations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Hindu Jagran Vedike had already staged protests against the state, calling it “anti-Hindu” for its actions.

    The Rashtriya Hindu Samiti condemned the district administration for razing the Hindu temples in the city. In a press release, Samiti president Vikas Shastri warned of launching a protest if the operation was not stopped, reports Deccan Herald.

    The authorities, on the other hand, are defending their actions citing the Supreme Court order, and saying that it's their duty to execute orders from above.

    At the same time, the officials have claimed that this temple was not on the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) map, and was only 12 years old, and that some outfits and politicians were unnecessarily stirring up controversy.

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