Karnataka education minister justifies boycott of Muslim traders

Karnataka Secondary and Higher Education minister BC Nagesh on Wednesday justified the anti-Muslim posters put up in Shivamogga. The posters encouraged the prohibition of Muslim traders from setting up shops at an annual local festival in the city.

It has been reported that a campaign was also organised on social media platforms against allowing Muslim shopkeepers to set up shops.

Nagesh, while speaking to the media, sided with the Hindutva groups and said that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

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“Everything has an equal and opposite reaction. Those people tried to oppose the law of the land and this is a reaction to it. Someone had a communal agenda and two months ago nobody had thought that the high court would pass an order against it and that Muslims would call for a statewide bandh over the court’s ban on the issue,” he said.

“Some people around Karnataka also supported the same (the state-wide bandh). And if there is a reaction to it please don’t politicize it,” he added.

The organizing committee of the festival, Kote Marikamba Jatra, was forced to allot the tender to a Hindutva group as the leaders of BJP, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad had demanded that no Muslim be allowed to set up shops during the festival.

The Kote Marikamba Jatra is held once every two years. Lakhs of people from neighbouring cities and districts visit the festival. The festival was last held in February 2020. The residents say that Muslims and Christians also offer ‘Harake’, which is an offering made to the deity for fulfilling their wishes.

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