Karnataka: Christian boy stopped from playing cricket on grounds belonging to temple

Bengaluru, July 14: In an incident that had communal overtones, a Christian boy was stopped from playing cricket on the grounds of a temple in Sullia in Dakshina Kannada district in Karnataka by a temple official. A video of the heated interaction between the temple official and a group of young men was shared widely on social media. The police did not intervene as there was no complaint filed.

The incident occurred on Saturday in the premises of a temple of the Koragajja deity. In the video, Praveen, a temple committee member, was seen objecting to an interfaith group of friends playing cricket on the ground and a Christian boy to leave the premises immediately.

In the video, Praveen was heard saying: "If we have to fight, I am ready. I have called the MLA and I won't fear anybody. Isn't he an SC? He is here playing. But you are playing with people who are not Hindus. Why are you (pointing to the Christian boy) playing here? We don't go near Muslims (mosques) and we don't go near Christians (churches). There is a ground in front of the church. Can't he go and play there?"

Speaking to an online portal, Praveen said, "It is true I asked him to leave and play in the church. He can come and pray at the temple but he has no right to question the temple committee. We will not allow people of other faiths to play here."

Sullia police inspector Naveen Chandra Jogi said that there was no police complaint raised over the issue.

Dakshina Kannada is a communally sensitive district. According to activist Suresh Bhat Bakrabail of the Karnataka Communal Harmony Forum, there have been 51 communal incidents in the district till June 30 this year including 14 incidents of moral policing by Hindu vigilantes.

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