Karnataka: VHP, Bajrang Dal Oppose Ritual of Reciting Quran During Channakeshava Rathotsav

Last Updated: March 28, 2023, 17:25 IST

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal have staged a protest at Belur town in Karnataka’s Hassan district against the tradition of reciting verses from the Quran during the historical Channakeshava Rathotsav and demanded the decades-old custom be discontinued.

The Rathotsav will take place on April 4 and 5 in Belur during which a tradition is followed wherein the Hindu festival begins with a recitation of the Quran. Lakhs of devotees throng to the temple to witness the festival.

“For many years, before the Rathotsava, there was a bad practice of reciting the Quran. This practice of hurting Hindu sentiments has been taking place. This must stop this year. Not Quran but Narayan Stotra must be recited in front of the temple. Hence, in order to put an end to this practice, the VHP and Bajrang Dal staged protests. Rathotsav will take place on April 4 and the ritual must stop this year on April 3 itself,” said Basavaraj, a VHP worker.

“Our Sanatana Dharma dates back to 5,000 years. They could not take us down using a sword but their ideological attack is taking place. The same ideological attack is taking place at Channakeshava premises as well. This temple was built in 1117AD and in 1932 this practice of reciting the Quran started. Back then, they used to do it in some corner now they have started in front of the chariot,” said Santosh Kenchamba, the founder of Rashtra Dharma Sangatan.

Amidst the protest by the VHP and Bajrang Dal, a Muslim youth shouted “Quran Zindabad” and was caught and heckled by the protestors. Later, he was detained by police.

The VHP and Bajrang Dal have also demanded the Basavaraj Bommai-led Karnataka government to pass an order to put an end to this decades-old practice of starting the festival with recitation of Quran before April 3.

As per local reports, ritual of reciting the Quran during Rathotsav symbolises Hindu-Muslim unity and harmony.

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