Mysuru halts demolition of illegal religious structures after govt seeks details

Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha also questioned the government’s move and held a press meet and said only Hindu temples are being targeted but not structures of other religions.

Following a series of controversy over demolition of temples in Karnataka’s Mysuru, the district administration Tuesday said it has suspended the drive against illegal religious structures for now.

Deputy Commissioner Bagadi Gautham said, “The state government has issued a notice seeking information about the temple demolition drives. We will reply to the notice and till then, the drive against religious structures will be stopped temporarily.”

Recently, a Hindu temple at Nanjangud in Mysuru district was demolished. Former Karnataka Chief Minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah slammed the BJP government for destroying the “ancient” Hindu temple without consulting local residents.

Leaders across parties questioned the district administration’s move. Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha also questioned the government’s move and held a press meet and said only Hindu temples are being targeted but not structures of other religions. His comments stirred a controversy as leaders from Congress and other parties blamed the MP for giving a communal spin to the incident.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Mysuru District Convener Malavika Gubbivani alleged that the MP was using the opportunity to create communal tension. She said Simha was aware of the demolition of the temple but remained silent then and is now raising his voice to safeguard his vote bank.

As many as 93 religious places have been identified by the district administration that have been built in an unauthorised manner. Former minister and Krishnaraja BJP MLA S A Ramadass Tuesday said he had spoken to the Chief Minister on the issue and he has responded positively. He said that the religious structures which were built before 2009 will not be demolished.

Former minister and K R Nagar JDS MLA S R Mahesh said that he will convene a meeting with elected representatives and religious leaders to find a solution to the issue surrounding illegal religious structures in Mysuru. Speaking on the sidelines of the assembly sessions, Mahesh said the issue should not be politicised and a solution needs to be floated.

The Supreme Court had ordered the demolition of unauthorised illegal structures built after September 29, 2009 in public places. In December 2020, the Karnataka high court also took the state government to task for not clearing encroachments from public places.

According to State Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar, who sent a letter to all the deputy commissioners on July 1, there are about 6,395 unauthorised religious structures in public places. Dakshina Kannada had 1,579 followed by Shivamogga (740) and Belagavi (612).

Hassan district administration said that among the 112 illegal religious places identified, 92 have been demolished so far.

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