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Karnataka government passes bill in assembly to stop temple demolition

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Bengaluru, Sep 22 (IANS): The BJP government in Karnataka, under fire from all corners, especially from Hindu outfits on the issue of temple demolition, finally passed a law in the state Assembly to put a break to temple demolition drive in the state.

The proposed Karnataka Religious Structures (Protection) Bill 2021 was passed amid heated debate between both ruling BJP and opposition Congress on Tuesday.

The proposed enactment ‘Karnataka Religious Structures (Protection) Bill-2021’ aims to stop demolition of religious structures in the state in the backdrop of the Supreme Court order.

The enactment states that whatever may be the legal provisions of laws and irrespective of orders or guidelines by courts, jurisprudence and authorities, from the date of implementation of the ‘Karnataka Religious Structures Protection Act -2021’, the government will protect religious centres in accordance with the stipulated guidelines.

The process of vacating, shifting and demolishing religious centres that have come up on public properties will be stopped once the act is implemented after it is presented and passed in the Legislative Council.

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

He further alleged that after getting the temple demolished in Mysuru, the BJP is bringing a new law for reconstruction. Former minister and Congress MLA U.T. Khader chided that the students are going to read in textbooks that the BJP has demolished the temples like invaders did in India.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said, from 2010 to 2019 as many as 161 temples, masjids and dargahs have been demolished in Mysuru. “If you fix responsibility on ruling BJP for the demolition of a temple in Mysuru, who will you hold responsible for these demolitions,” he questioned the opposition. “Words are dangerous, we should use them carefully over sensitive issues,” he said.

Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J.C. Madhuswamy said, mistakes have happened all the time and the legislation is being brought to ensure protection for religious structures in future.

The new bill is aimed at protecting unauthorized places of worship that have come up in the state and facing the threat of demolition in the backdrop of the Supreme Court order.

The bill assures protection to all religious centres including temples, churches, mosques and other major religious constructions that have come up on the public property without permission.

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