The chariot festival at the temple will be held on april 13 and 14 HASSAN: The committee governing 12th-century Chennakeshava temple in Belur , Hassan district, has courted controversy, issuing an eviction notice to a lone non-Hindu vendor who has been running a shop on the shrine premises for decades.
The temple complex has 17 commercial shops housing a hotel, milk booth and godowns.The notice has been served on a Muslim vendor selling children’s toys for more than 50 years.The temple comes under the Karnataka muzrai department and is set to be recognised by as a world-heritage site by Unesco.
This is the first temple in Old Mysuru region to ask non-Hindus to shift out of the shrine complex, taking cue from the Shivamogga Marikamba temple which banned Muslim vendors at the annual fair two weeks ago.
The temple’s executive officer served the notice on March 28 asking the Muslim vendor to “immediately stop” business activities.The vendor replied to the notice the same day, seeking permission to continue his business till next year when the agreement with temple authorities ends.
Temple executive officer Vidyalatha said she issued the notice under the Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 2002, that disallows leasing or renting premises in a temple complex to non-Hindus.”I have sent the vendor’s reply to our commissioner,” she said.
The temple celebrates the syncretic tradition by allowing the chanting of verses from Quran for two minutes just before the temple chariot is taken out in a procession during the annual fair.The officer said she has brought this tradition to the commissioner’s notice which was started by saint Ramanujacharya under the ‘Sarva Dharma Samanvaya’ concept.
The temple manual mentions the practice, she added.The temple chariot festival will be held this year on April 13 and 14.
The Belur unit of Bajrang Dal had submitted a petition to the tahsildar seeking ban on non-Hindu vendors at the temple complex.
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