Karnataka: Goons force temple to evict 72-yr-old Muslim woman shop owner

This boycott is a result of pressure put on the temple management by Hindutva groups to ensure that Muslims don't run their businesses in Hindu temples.

A 72-year-old Muslim woman shop owner was forced to shut down her shop at the historic Chennakeshava temple in Belur.

This came about soon after Karnataka BJP minister JC Maduswamy’s justified banning Muslim vendors within temple premises as per the rules of the Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Department (HRICED), 2002.

Noor Jahan’s family who was given an eviction notice by the temple authorities on March 28 have lost their only source of income, since then.

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Hindutva belonging to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal in Belur have been urging the management of the temple to evict non-Hindu shopkeepers from the temple premises. Following this, the temple management issued a notice to do away with shops run by minorities.

The same was backed by the BJP-led Karnataka government who stated the HRICED rule to justify that shops, buildings, and vacant sites located near temples should not be auctioned to non-Hindus.

The plight of Noor Jahan:

The 50-year-old shop run by Noor Jahan has been selling toys, bangles, idols, and other items.

The shop was earlier looked after by her husband, Mehaboob Sharief, until he passed away in 2008, after which his son, Rehman Shareif took over. However, Rehman left the family six years ago, and since Noor Jahan has been taking care of the shop, her daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

The contract of the shop, which remains in her son’s name, was renewed in 2018 and the family paid the rent regularly.

“We have been paying a monthly rent of ₹7,351 to the temple administration. As per the contract agreement, we still have one year to either terminate or renew the agreement,” The Hindu quoted Noor Jahan.

The officials of the temple said that actions have to be taken as per the rulings.

“We issued a notice asking the shopkeeper to close the shop, as per the rule. The shopkeeper has complied. Further, the issue has been brought to the notice of the Commissioner of Endowment,” said the temple’s Executive Officer, Vidyullatha.

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