The BJP government in Karnataka had ordered 300 prominent temples in the state to perform special pujas on solar eclipse day to ward off “adverse effects the eclipse causes”.
“Yes, we asked all the A and B-grade temples in the state to perform special pujas for the good of the state,” a top official of the Muzrai (religious and endowment department) said on the condition of anonymity. “The government did not grant any special fund for the puja. But donations and offerings by devotees accumulated in hundi (collection box) were used,” the official said.
Eight months ago, Minister for Muzrai and Housing S.N. Krishanaiah Shetty was in the eye of a storm when he issued a circular ordering puja in all temples under the muzrai department in Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa’s name, which was withdrawn in the wake of criticism.
It is Shetty again who issued the current circular when the government is facing criticism for ‘moral policing’ by the Sangh Parivar outfits.