Puttur: Kavu Hemanath Shetty, immediate past president of Puttur block Congress, held a media meet here on Friday to bring to light certain undercurrents behind the controversy regarding the name of the deputy commissioner being included in temple fair invitation.
He said that, in the past, whenever society went to any turmoil, everyone, regardless of caste or creed used to join hands. When Shri Mahalingeshwara temple in Puttur faced financial difficulties, there was a tradition of taking everyone into confidence, with unified efforts towards betterment.
But, unfortunately, everything was being politicized over the recent past. With a view to promoting personal interests, the welfare and future of the temple was being put to stake. Hence, it was the duty of genuine devotees to condemn such developments, he also said.
Shetty pointed out that the Puttur temple traditionally had inseparable bonding with the Agalpady Saheb family. The inclusion of a non-Hindu deputy commissioner in the invitation was not at all a serious matter, contrary to what was being made out.
The name of the same DC had been included in the invitation to the fair of Subrahmanya temple, but there was no issue nor complication. Everything had gone on well and very smoothly too.
He further said that the bona-fide devotees never had any problem or confusion over the issue. It was only a handful of people created a controversy over it even before the invitations came out.
He said that he was very pained that this limited group was creating rift and breach of peace in the society for political gain. He cautioned the public about such moves.
He questioned as to why Satyajit Suratkal who had no connections with the temple was brought from a distance and was made to deliver the kind of a speech which was an insult to Lord Mahalingeshwara.
Similarly, he wanted to know as to why it was a problem to include the name of the DC who was well known to clear the files relating to the temple without any delay. Nowhere did the DC insist on anything against law. Whatever he did and was doing was in his capacity as the competent official.
Besides, the city municipal council was also under the DC’s purview at present. This has created problems for some people in town, hence the protest was being organized. He assured that he and his supporters would create awareness over the need for harmony in this issue.
He also fired a salvo at the sitting MLA, Shakuntala Shetty, saying that she could have amicably settled the issue. Instead, without verifying the protocol requirements, she complicated the issue by saying she would see that a new invitation would be printed, even by spending from her pocket if need be.
There was no need for her to issue such a statement, which had embarrassed the district administration as well the people of Puttur. She had reportedly said that there was no difference between the BJP and Congress as far as she was concerned. In that case, she had the freedom of leaving Congress and going back to the BJP, Shetty said.
In spite of being a long-time devotee of Lord Mahalingeshwara and a responsible elected legislator as well a parliamentary secretary, she had doubled the complication and therefore she was totally responsible for the problem, he said.
He would bring this matter to the attention of the chief minister, the home minister and the district minister-in-charge, he said.
He added that it was the responsibility of the deputy commissioner as the district magistrate to control any situation of unrest. Ironically, unrest was being created just because his name appeared in the invitation. This was something which could not be tolerated.
The DC had been visiting the temple not as a Muslim but as an official by protocol overseeing the state of affairs. Therefore he deserved and should be given the respect he commanded by virtue of his position. Shetty expressed the hope that all matters would be cleared within two or three days.
District Congress labour cell leader Lokesh Hegde said that a certain official from here was facing problems from the DC and therefore in retaliation all this campaign was being aimed at him to create embarrassment, all, quite sadly, in the name of Shri Mahalingeshwara.
Raviprasad Shetty recalled that in the past, when trouble arose at a mosque, a Hindu DC was appointed and he was the one who brought the situation under control.
Senior devotee Kittanna Gowda reminded the people of Puttur that when two devotees had drowned in the temple tank some time ago, it was the Muslim diving experts from Panemangaluru who had been called for.
He wanted to know as to why the self-proclaimed Hindu leaders like Arun Puttila and Rajesh Bannur did not jump into the tank to rescue their Hindu brethren.
When the temple needed a well for drinking water, Muslims from Kumbra were needed. There was a need of Muslims to lay the roof over the ‘garbha gudi’.
If the stone slabs inside the temple had to be moved, there was a need of Muslims. Only when it came to putting up stalls, Muslims were being kept out.
Besides, now when the DC’s name appeared in the invitation, a row was created. Those creating problems should try to study the harmony-related matters in the first place, he said.