Amid controversy in Karnataka over calls by right-wing groups to ban Muslim traders from temple celebrations, Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw has urged Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to “resolve the growing religious divide” in the state, warning that if the technology sector becomes communal it will “destroy” India’s global leadership.
Kiran Shaw was the first big corporate leader to publicly voice concerns about what he called “racial exclusion”, days after the Karnataka government cited an old rule banning non -Hindus from doing business on temple premises.
“Karnataka is always shaping inclusive economic development and we cannot allow such communal exclusions- If ITBT (IT and Biotechnology) becomes communal, it will destroy our global leadership. BS Bommai, please bridge this growing religious gap,” Ms. Shaw on Twitter, sharing news reports.
Karnataka has always shaped inclusive economic development and we cannot allow such communal exclusions- If ITBT becomes communal it will destroy our global leadership. @BSBommai please resolve this growing religious divide https://t.co/0PINcbUtwG
– Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (@kiranshaw) March 30, 2022
One user, responding to the appeal, wrote marking both Ms Shaw and the Chief Minister: “He will widen this racial divide and Karnataka will fail before our eyes.”
To which, Ms Shaw replied: “Our CM is a very progressive leader. I’m sure he’ll resolve this issue soon.”
Karnataka has struggled with racial divisions for months.
The latest is about groups like Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal who are demanding a ban on Muslim traders in the temple complex. The campaign has led some temples to blacklist Muslim traders despite no ban.
The state government, which largely avoided commenting on the claim, told the rally that restrictions on non -Hindu traders operating on temple premises were based on a 2002 rule under the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Wakaf Amal Act, 1997.
The demand to ban Muslim traders near temples is seen as a retaliation for the hijab dispute, in which Muslim students across the state have fought for their right to wear the headscarf in class.
The Karnataka High Court recently upheld the state government’s order banning the hijab in classrooms, insisting that the hijab is “not an important religious practice in Islam”.