Sensing political reprisal, government does U-turn on taking control of mutts

Withdraws order seeking public opinion to include religious centres under Endowment department.

Published: 09th February 2018 03:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th February 2018 07:59 AM   |  A+A-

Legislators interacting with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in the Legislative Council on Thursday | KPN

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: The state government has withdrawn the notification seeking public opinion to include religious institutions functioning under various mutts of Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists across the state under the Religious Endowment Department.

It came after the ruling Congress sensed that the  BJP would use the notification to whip up sentiment against the state government from powerful mutts in the State.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced the decision in the  Council on Thursday soon after Leader of the Opposition K S Eshwarappa expressed his reservation over the issue.  Even as the state government withdrew the order, BJP members staged a walkout, with Eshwarappa alleging that the circular had hurt the feelings of pontiffs of mutts.

The notification came three years after the state government unsuccessfully tabled the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Bill, 2014. The Bill was scrapped following opposition from pontiffs.  The notification issued on January 29 sought opinion from various pontiffs, administrative committee members of temples and priests.

The CM said the notification was issued following directives from the Supreme Court in 2005. “The court had also directed to make a regulatory body for these institutions, and a similar notification was issued by Justice Rama Jois Committee in 2007,” he said.   However,  Eshwarappa said while the 2007 notification was by the committee, the new one was by the state government.   

‘Divide & rule policy’
BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa attacked the state government stating that it had continued its “divide and rule policy” and was compelled to withdraw the notification. “The continued efforts of the state government to control Hindu religious centres have been proved again,” he said. Earlier, the state had hurt Hindu sentiments by introducing the Anti-superstition Bill, he added.

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