Karnataka: Demolition of unauthorised religious structures put on hold after political furore

The move comes after Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai said the demolitions of illegal structures on the basis of court orders would be halted until the government examines the orders and issues fresh directives.

The Mysuru district administration on Tuesday announced the temporary suspension of the drive against illegal religious structures as its move had created a political furore, especially after a temple was demolished in the Nanjangud area.

The move came after Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai said the demolitions of illegal structures on the basis of court orders would be halted until the government examines the orders and issues fresh directives.

Mysuru Deputy Commissioner Bagadi Gautham said that the state government has issued a notice seeking information about the recent temple demolition drive.

“We will reply to the notice and till then the drive against religious structures will be stopped temporarily,” he said.

The controversy over demolition of illegal structures based on orders issued by the Supreme Court and the High Court of Karnataka erupted after a temple at Nanjangud in the Mysuru district was demolished.

Former Karnataka chief minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah slammed the BJP government for destroying a temple without consulting local residents.

Leaders across party lines have questioned the move by the Mysuru district administration. Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha also questioned the government move and held a press meet stating that temples were targeted but not structures of other religions.

His comments stirred a controversy as leaders from Congress and other parties blamed the MP for giving the demolitions a communal spin.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Mysuru District Convener Malavika Gubbivani alleged that the MP was using the opportunity to create communal tension. She said that Pratap Simha was aware of the demolition of the temple in Nanjangud but remained silent.

93 religious places have been identified by the Mysuru district administration as being unauthorised.

Former minister and Krishnaraja BJP MLA S A Ramadass on Tuesday said that he had spoken to the Chief Minister on the issue and that the CM had 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 SR 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.

The Supreme Court had ordered the demolition of unauthorised illegal structures built after September 29, 2009 in public places.

In December 2020, Karnataka high court also took the state government to task for not clearing the encroachments from public places.

According to state chief secretary P Ravi Kumar who sent a letter to deputy commissioners on July 1 says that 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 112 illegal religious places identified 92 have been demolished so far.

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