Karnataka: Two BJP members condemn ban on Muslim traders during festivals

Veteran and new leaders alike criticise the state government for flouting constitutional rights and sentiments

Two BJP member

Two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members from Karnataka criticised their own party-led government for the ban on Muslim traders during Hindu festivities on March 28, 2022. MLA Anil Benake and MLC AH Vishwanath spoke to local news channels and voiced their criticism of such politics based on religious division.

A seasoned politician, formerly a member of both the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular), Vishwanath spoke to Public TV around Monday denouncing the government for its inability to check the increasing instances of bans on Muslim traders. Earlier, the organising committee of the Kote Marikamba Jatra in Shivamogga district gave in to right-wing demands and banned Muslim shopkeepers from conducting business during the jatra (religious procession). Following this, more areas voiced this demand, garnering scorn from the veteran politician.

Vishwanath pointed out that many people from India work in other areas, including predominantly Muslim countries as well. He feared that if those countries followed the same policy then the situation would become “insane”.

“No god, religion has said don’t include him/them… No. The government must intervene. I don’t know why the government is mum over this issue. Are they [Muslims] not Kannadigas? The ones who stayed back in India are Indians. They are no one else but Indians. Without thinking anything, how can you say Muslims can’t do business here? This is a sorry state of affairs,” said Vishwanath.

He stressed that people need livelihoods to survive. If this is denied to people, then the purpose of democracy, religion, caste is moot. Similarly, first-time MLA Benake said it is wrong to tell people that they could purchase items from people just because the vendors were not Hindu. According to The Scroll, he said that the question of imposing restrictions does not arise because everyone has the opportunity to carry out their activities.


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