New Delhi / Bengaluru:
Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at Bengaluru’s Eidgah Maidan will not be held, following a “status quo” order from the Supreme Court today following a petition by the Karnataka Waqf Council. This ended the stalemate just in time – the Hindu festival takes place tomorrow and the day after – when the state government insisted on granting the right to establish pandals.
The Supreme Court earlier said the government could allow it, but the waqf panel went to the Supreme Court, arguing that no other religious festival has been held there “for 200 years”. As a result, the court’s three-judge bench was set “as it is today” at the 2.5-acre site.
A bigger question lies at the heart of the matter: Who owns the land, the state government or the waqf board? That remains for the High Court to decide.
Lawyers cite Babri
During the hearing, the state attorney asked for permission for “a government-run temple” for two days, saying “no permanent structures will be built”.
At this point, the board’s lawyer countered, “UP’s CM at the time also gave assurances, in the Babri Masjid case. You know what happened there”, referring to the demolition of the house. mosque in 1992, replacing the Ram temple. will now come after a Supreme Court ruling.
“Don’t give the impression to religious minorities that their rights can be trampled on,” the lawyer, Dushyant Dave, also told the court.
“No religious events from any other community were held on this property… It was declared a Waqf Property by law. Suddenly in 2022 they said it was land. dispute and they want to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi festival here,” said the council.
“Election next year”
The board also mentioned “elections will take place next year” – alluding to the political motive behind the government’s move. Council elections are scheduled for 2023.
When the court asked the state’s attorney, Mukul Rohatgi, if there had been previous instances of such events in Maidan, he said, “It cannot be grounds to object to an event now. “
“In Delhi, Dussehra effigies are burned everywhere. People will say ‘don’t do this Hindu festival’? We have to be a little more spacious. In Gujarat, the streets and lanes are blocked to celebrate the festival. What if Ganesh Chaturthi is allowed for two days?” he said.
But Dushyant Dave countered, “I wonder if there are any temples in this country where minorities are allowed in to pray.”
Kapil Sibal, also an attorney for the board, referred to the August 9 “suo motu notice” of a complaint that reads “dispute between the Muslim and Hindu (and) communities” The above-mentioned land belongs to the Department of Income”. Technically, this FIR was filed against a Hindu right-wing activist for “threatening to destroy the prayer wall in Eidgah Maidan”, but Mr Sibal said it was “very disturbing”.
“Your lords should stop this. What’s going on here?” he added.
Karnataka has seen a number of incidents of community violence in recent months, even leading to a demand by the BJP to remove Basavaraj Bommai from the position of Minister.
When the judges can’t agree
Earlier in the day, the matter was brought before a smaller bench of two judges, but they could not agree, so Chief Justice CJI UU Lalit listed the case in front of the three-judge bench – Judge Judges Indira Banerjee, AS Oka and MM Refresh.
The council’s appeal is an appeal against an August 26 order by the Karnataka High Court, allowing the government to make decisions about the use of the ground.