A 12th-century Chennakeshava temple in Belur in Karnataka‘s Hassan district has issued an eviction notice to a lone Muslim vendor who has been running a shop on the shrine premises for decades.
The notice has been served on a Muslim vendor selling children’s toys for more than 50 years, the Times of India reported. The temple complex has 17 commercial shops housing a hotel, milk booth, and godowns.
The Muslim vendor was asked to “immediately stop” business activities. The temple’s executive officer Vidyalatha served the notice on March 28.
Vidyalatha said to TOI that she issued the notice under the Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 2002, which disallows leasing or renting premises in a temple complex to non-Hindus.
This comes two weeks after the Shivamogga Marikamba temple banned Muslim vendors at the annual fair and days after the Belur unit of Bajrang Dal had submitted a petition to the tahsildar seeking a ban on non-Hindu vendors at the temple complex.
The temple which comes under the Karnataka Muzrai department is set to be recognised as a world heritage site by UNESCO.
The Muslim vendor replied to the notice, seeking permission to continue his business till next year when the agreement with temple authorities ends, the newspaper reported.