Bengaluru: Seeing the widespread opposition from seers of several maths, the government has decided to withdraw the notice issued by the Muzarai department, inviting public opinion on its plans to take over maths, temples and religious institutions in the state.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who announced this in the Legislative Council on Thursday, said the government would consult the law department in the matter and then take a call on whether or not to go ahead with the plan.
The government was earlier lambasted by the BJP, which moved an adjournment motion on the controversial public notice and accused it of being "anti-Hindu." But even before leader of the opposition, K S Eshwarappa could make a preliminary submission on the issue, the Chief Minister intervened to say the government had no plan to take over any math, temple or religious institution and the Muzarai department had already been told to withdraw its public notice.
When Mr Eshwarappa accused the government of being "anti-Hindu," and wondered why it was not trying to take over mosques, Mr Siddaramaiah recalled that in 2006, a division bench of the Karnataka High Court had asked the then BJP-JD(S) government to seek the opinion of stakeholders on forming a new regulatory body for temples and maths in the state. But following strong opposition from religious heads a notice issued at the time was withdrawn, and a three-member committee headed by former Chief Justice, Justice Rama Jois was constituted to look into the matter. The committee too issued a similar public notice and the Muzarai department had recently only re-issued it.
"But today, the BJP leaders are attacking the government on this score. Why did they keep quiet when Justice Jois issued the notice?" the Chief Minister demanded, accusing the saffron party of politicising the issue.
" BJP leaders don't have a monopoly over Hinduism. I am also a Hindu and I too respect God. The lotus party is trying to gain political mileage out of this issue in view of the coming Assembly poll," he charged.
Angry BJP and JD(S) members, however, walked out of the House in protest when the chairman of the Council, D.H. Shankaramurthy rejected the adjournment motion based on the Chief Minister's statement.
‘Chinchansoor did not want debate on scam’
Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, jagadish Shettar claimed that former Minister, Baburao Chinchansoor had forced an RTI activist to withdraw a PIL in the High Court on the "corruption" in the Karnataka Border Development Authority that he headed.
Presenting four DVDs in the Assembly, which he claimed carried a recording of a discussion between Mr Chinchansoor, his followers and the activist, Mr Shettar, charged that the Authority had spent over Rs 50 crore during the last one year, although it had conducted no programmes. "The money was released in the name of fictitious organisations, he charged.
Mr Shettar added that an RTI activist filed a PIL in the High Court questioning the expenditure of the authority. But Mr Chinchansoor and his assistant, Prakash Mathikatti offered him money to withdraw the case and the petitioner was forced to give an undertaking to the court taking back his PIL and the case was dismissed, he alleged. Even worse, Mr Mathikatti had requested him Thursday not to raise the issue in the House, he claimed. " He tried to explain to me how there was a misconception over spending. Opposition leaders are approached to drop debates and the CM says there is no corruption.”