Friday, Oct 07, 2022
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Karnataka

Ganesh Festival At Idgah Maidan Flies In The Face Of India’s Constitutional Secularism

Why was it so important for the Karnataka government to hold Ganesh Chaturthi puja in an Idgah maidan somewhere in the state? Was it something to do with the fact that assembly elections are around the corner?

A land entranced: Police deployment at the Chamarajpet Idgah maidan in Bangalore Photo: PTI

The Karnataka government’s efforts to conduct Ganesh Chaturthi puja—first at the Idgah in Bangalore and then in Hubballi—fly in the face of India’s constitutional secularism.

The Bangalore Idgah case is part of an emerging pattern in India when the State drops all pretence of constitutional propriety and com­es out of the closet as nothing more than a majoritarian political ideology in power. The right of Muslims over the Idgah in Bangalore’s Cha­m­arajpet had been contested by the Bangalore Municipal Corporation (BMC) and had been consistently upheld in favour of the Muslims in three previous rounds of litigation, and had att­ained finality in the eyes of the law. But the und­erlying presumption on which the rule of law ope­rates is that the rules of the game will be followed by everyone—citizens, governments, pu­b­lic authorities and judges alike. Increasi­ngly, this pre­su­mption is too much to ask for.

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