Karnataka Assembly passes bill to stop temple demolitions

Bangalore: The BJP government passed a law in the State Assembly stopping the demolition of temples in the state. The Bommai government came under fire from Hindu groups for demolishing temples in Mysuru district in accordance with a Supreme Court order.

The Karnataka Religious Structures (Protection) Bill 2021 was passed amid heated arguments between the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress on Tuesday to stop the demolition of religious structures in the state against the backdrop of the order of the Supreme Court.

The law stipulates that regardless of the legal provisions of the laws and regardless of orders or directives of courts, case law and authorities, from the date of implementation of the “Law on the Protection of Religious Structures of Karnataka -2021 ”, the government will protect religious centers in accordance with stipulated guidelines.

The process of evacuating, moving and demolishing religious centers that have appeared on public property will be halted once the law is implemented after its presentation and adoption to the Legislative Council.

Opposition leader Siddaramaiah alleged the BJP enforced the law after facing heat from Hindu Jagaran Vedike and Hindu Mahasabha.

He further alleged that after the demolition of the temple in Mysuru, the BJP proposed a new law for the reconstruction.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that from 2010 to 2019, no less than 161 temples, masjids and dargahs were demolished in Mysuru. “If you fix the responsibility of the BJP in power for the demolition of a temple in Mysuru, who will you hold responsible for these demolitions”, he questioned the opposition. “Words are dangerous, we must use them with care on sensitive issues,” he said.

Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister JC Madhuswamy said mistakes have happened all the time and legislation is being passed to ensure the protection of religious structures in the future.

The new bill seeks to protect unauthorized places of worship that have emerged in the state and face the threat of demolition in the context of the Supreme Court’s order.

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