Quran reading during a chariot festival is opposed by Bajrang Dal
Workers for the Bajrang Dal protested against the Quran being read at the annual chariot festival on Tuesday at the Chennakeshava Swamy temple in Belur, Hassan district, according to the police.
The temple has a long-standing custom of starting the chariot celebration with Quranic readings. Right-wing organizations have long resisted the custom.
More than 100 Bajrang Dal members demonstrated outside the temple on Tuesday, calling for the state government to cease the practice. According to police, they objected on the grounds that the practice violates the principles of their organization.
On April 4, the chariot festival is anticipated to occur.
A Muslim young man who arrived to the demonstration on a bike screamed, "Quran Zindabad," and the Bajrang Dal activists encircled him. According to Hariram Shankar, the district police superintendent for Hassan, the police, who were there in huge numbers, used a light lathi charge to rescue the young man from a scrap trader in Belur.
"There is calm in the situation. During the demonstration, one young person made an attempt to incite the Bajrang Dal employees by yelling "Quran Zindabad." The young man was detained by the police and brought before the tahsildar's court, according to Shankar.
Right-wing organizations have resisted the practice even though it is included in the department of religious endowments of the state's guidebook. The department has clarified that the ritual is accepted and that the Quran is read for the festival's success when the rath passes in front of the mosque.
The event also included recitations the year before.
One of the prominent proponents of the need for a change in the custom is Ramesh, a physician and the author of the book "Sri Channakeshava of Belur does not require Quran recitation." He said that the ritual of reading the Qur'an was introduced without his will in 1932.
The rite could continue as planned thanks to approval from Muzrai Department Commissioner Rohini Sindhuri. She said that interfering with the customs and rituals of the temple is prohibited under Section 58 of the Hindu Religion Act of 2002. Following the directive, the temple committee decided to perform the customary recital of Quranic verses last year.
Nevertheless, on March 24, pro-Hindu organizations in Belur petitioned the tehsildar to suspend the rite because it was offensive to Hindu feeling.
The muzarai department issued a clarification stating that the recitation of the Quran is a custom that has to be maintained, according to Shankar. "During last year too the Hindu groups requested and protested against the reading of the Quran."