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Stalls by Muslims not allowed at Shivamogga festival after protest by BJP, others

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The organising committee of Kote Marikamba Jatra in Karnataka’s Shivamogga has reportedly decided not to allot shops to Muslim traders during the festival after protests by BJP and others.

The Shivamogga festival committee has decided not to give tenders to Muslim shopkeepers during the five-day Kote Marikamba Jatra festival after protests by BJP and others.

The committee accepted the demands made by leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Bajrang Dal, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). The group had demanded that shopkeepers belonging to the Hindu community be allowed to open stalls during the festival.

Kote Marikamba Jatre, held once in two years, attracts lakhs of people from neighbouring cities and districts, irrespective of caste and religion. The last time it was held was in February 2020.

BJP leaders and others were reportedly adamant that no Muslim be allowed to do business during the festival.

According to sources, the tender was initially allotted to an individual who would manage the shops and also collect fees. All this was to add up to nine lakh rupees. The committee had a meeting a few days ago wherein Hindutva groups demanded that only Hindus be allowed to open up stalls in and around the temple. These stalls in fact serve as an important source of income for the temple and Muslim businessmen were also part of previous festivals.

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