'1,579 places of worship face threat of demolition'

Mlore has highest structures (363) and Moodbidri lowest (98)

According to the available reports, out of the 1,579 religious structures, 1,202 belong to Hindus, 281—Muslims, 79—Christains and 17—Jains.

Out of 1,579 places of worship, 363 are situated in Mangalore, 352 in Bantwal, 298 in Belthangady, 136 in Sullia, 98 in Moodbidri, 152 in Puttur, and 150 in Kadaba hobli.

In the first list announced by the district administration, there were 640 religious structures. However, the final list was announced recently. In Udupi district, there are 1,112 religious structures which are under threat.

Hindu Jana Jagruti Vedike Spokesperson Mohan Gowda said that inspite of the scope for regularising several religious structures, the government has decided to go ahead with the demolition drive against the religious structures.

He said the Supreme Court has not given any final verdict on the removal of religious structures built on public places, creating inconvenience to the public.

The interim verdict of the Supreme Court clearly states that the religious structructes which are built after 7-12-2009 should be demolished. In relation to those structures which are built brior to  7-12-2009, the administrtation should go for case to case study and then decide on regularising the structure, relocating it or demolishing it.

Unfortunately, the State government in its affidavit to the Supreme Court has assured to clear all the illegal religious structures by December 31, 2010. No State government has given any time bound to clear the structures except Karnataka, he added.

“Though the Supreme Court order clealry states that all those structures which are more than 30 years old can be be regularised, in Karnataka, the government is only thinking of demolishing, instead of going through the process of regularising, relocating and demilishing,” he said and added that in Dakshina Kannada, temples which are more than 300 years old are facing the threat of demolition. Citing an example, he said Kateel temple’s dwara, Mukhya Prana Temple Mangalore, which are more than 100 years old have also received notices from the district administration.  Gowda said that the Supreme Court has asked only a report on illegal structures and not on demolition.

The Government which had promised to protect the Hindu temples, is indulging in demolition drive.  “In the list of unauthorised religious constructions, most of them are more than 100 years old structures. Hence, there is no problem for regularising it as per the direction of the Supreme Court,” he added.

To a query, he said the process to get stay from the Court for the demolition drive of all the religious structures in the State has already started.

Relocation

He said that as per the latest order, around 300 religious structures will be relocated in the district. “We are not even sure about where to relocate the religious centres,” said Hindu Jana Jagruti Vedike Co-ordinator Ramesh Nayak.

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