Karnataka Police on Tuesday lathi-charged Bajrang Dal and Hindu activists when their protest against recital of Quran at a historical Hindu religious fair turned violent in Beluru town of the district.
The Hindu organisations had given a bandh call in this regard in Beluru town. The situation turned volatile when a Muslim youth raised the "Quran Zindabad" slogan amid the protest.
The Bajrang Dal and Hindu activists questioned the youth and surrounded him. The situation turned serious when the youth got into an argument with the agitators. Later, he was chased by protesters.
Meanwhile, another group of agitators blocked the road. Taking no chance, the police resorted to lathi charge and quelled the mob. It also took the youth into custody and interrogated him.
The Hindu activists had submitted a memorandum to the Tehsildar office demanding that the verses of Quran should not be recited at the Hindu religious fair. They also urged the authorities to release the order in this regard by April 3.
Hindu activists have opposed the ritual of reciting the Quran during historical Chennakeshava Rathotsava in Beluru town. The Hindu organisations maintain that the ritual should not be observed as it is against Hindu religion.
The historical religious fair is scheduled to be held on April 4 and district administration is concerned about the developments taking a communal turn at the time of elections. Beluru Chennakeshava is a 12th century Hindu temple.
Its architecture is considered a marvel. It was built over three generations and took 103 years to finish. The temple is expected to get a heritage tag from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Last year, amid the opposition by Hindu activists, the Quran recitation was carried out during the religious fair. However, Hindu activists are claiming that the ritual of Quran recitation before Hindu God was forcefully added in 1932.
Dr Ramesh, a doctor and author, has released a book in this regard and explained how it is unnecessary to carry out a Quran recitation before the Hindu God Sri Channakeshava.
The Hindu activists are questioning is it possible to recite Hindu prayers at mosques and dargahs. They claimed that the ritual was forced upon Hindus as a part of appeasement politics.
The 'Rathotsav' ceremony at Belur Chennakeshava temple is performed only for two days. Channakeshava's idol will be embellished with gold guard and diamond jewels gifted by the erstwhile Kings of Mysuru kingdom.
Lakhs of devotees gather during the temple fair. Hindu organisations had objected to the age-old tradition of reciting the Quran before moving the chariot last year following a series of developments in the state.
The administrator of the temple then had written to the Muzrai department seeking clarification over the continuation of the ritual which has been carried over for years symbolising Hindu-Muslim unity.
Rohini Sindhuri, who was the Commissioner of Muzrai Department had given green signal for the continuation of the ritual. She had stated that according to Section 58 of the Hindu Religious Act 2002, there should not be any interference in the rituals and traditions of the temple.
After the direction, the temple committee decided to carry out the ritual recitation of verses from the Quran last year.