Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai will intervene and direct the Mysuru District Administration to halt the demolition of religious structures and withdraw its list of 93 structures in public places that are set to be razed. There will be no more demolitions in Mysuru with the excuse that the Supreme Court ordered it, said Member of Parliament Pratap Simha.
The demolition of illegal religious structures on public property in compliance with the court order, has drawn widespread criticisms from various Hindu outfits. “I have learnt that there are plans to raze 101 Ganesha temple in Agrahara constructed in 1954,” Simha said.
“Why are the authorities targeting the temples while others are being spared. It is not possible to equate the temples with other religious structures. Churches and mosques are prayer halls. But, in temples, the idols are consecrated” Prathap Simha said.
But then, addressing reporters at Jaladarshini Guest House this morning, Simha said that he had had a talk with the chief minister today. Bommai has reportedly responded positively. “The chief minister spoke to me over phone this morning regarding demolition of Temples and said that he will instruct the officers to halt all demolitions. A new list will be prepared after considering each structure on a case-to-case basis and no structure will be demolished,” Simha said.
The district administration has initiated demolition of places of worship as per a list, since a few days. Accordingly, Mahadevamma temple at Uchagani of Nanjangud taluk was razed on 8 September.
The chief minister has assured Simha that after each of the 93 structures that have been identified for demolition will be examined in detail if there is a chance for relocation and regularisation, a fresh affidavit will be submitted before the apex court. “The officers of Mysuru have misconstrued the SC order and are selectively targeting temples. This is not acceptable and we will not allow it,” the Simha said.
“The chief minister has understood the sensitivity of the issue and I told him how the Uchchagani Aadishakthi Mahadevamma Temple in Nanjangud that has a history of over 500 years was razed overnight based on the orders by the Tahsildar. The chief minister has promised action against the tahsildar,” Simha said.
“The Supreme Court has said that only those structures that have come up in public places after 2009 will fall under its order. Even there, the court has said that structures have to be demolished only if other solutions like relocation and regularisation is not possible. Officers have to examine each case individually. Unfortunately in Mysuru, certain over-enthusiastic officers have targeted only Temples but have ignored the rest,” Simha said.
BJP flays officials, but INC blames govt for demolition of temple
BJP MP Pratap Simha on 13 September said the result of demolition of an ancient temple near Mysuru was because of misinterpretation of Supreme Court order by district officials.
However, Karnataka’s former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah trained the guns on the state government, instead of blaming the district officials for the incident. “Which party is ruling the state now? Before demolishing the temple, it should have consulted the people. Shouldn’t the government shift the temple?” he asked.
Siddaramaiah also questioned the timing of obeying the Supreme Court order which was issued in 2009. In 2009, the Supreme Court had ordered prevention of installation of illegal statues and structures in public utility places.
The apex court gave the ruling while setting aside a 2017 decision of Karnataka government to install a statue of Sri Shivaratri Rajendra Swami at a prominent circle in Mysuru.
The officials are misinterpreting the Supreme Court order, Simha alleged.
Criticising the officials for misinterpreting highest court’s order, he said the apex court did not direct the governments to demolish temples that existed pre-2009 but review them and submit a list to it.
However, the officials randomly prepared the list without consulting the people and submitted a list of temples, dargas, mosques and churches, illegally built in public places, Simha said.
The result of such a list is the demolition of the Uchthagani Mahadevamma Temple in Nanjangud taluk, he said. “This ancient temple was not obstructing the road. The temple was 15 yards away from the road,” he said.
Simha pressed for the preparation of a new list after proper review and consultations and filed a fresh petition before the apex court, seeking protection to temples which were built before 2009.
Moving a step forward, he demanded establishment of a Waqf-type board for protecting temples.
Simha urged the chief minister to withdraw the 2019 order and regularise temples that are not causing any obstruction, besides take stern action against officials for misinterpreting the court order.
“The chief minister took into consideration the grievances raised by me. I also read out the Supreme Court order and informed him that the officials are misinterpreting the order. He has assured of action against them and is taking appropriate action in the matter,” he said.
Simha alleged that the district officials are selectively targeting Hindu temples. “They are hurting the Hindu sentiments,” he said.