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.