Bengaluru: Officials from the Income Tax department raided an ancient Shiva temple at the former prime minister and JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda’s native village Haradanahalli in Hassan district on Friday, triggering widespread condemnation.
According to the temple priest’s wife, Neelamma, two I-T officials came to their house adjacent to the Shiva shrine and searched every nook and corner of their modest home. Later, they entered even the temple premises and searched it, she said.
Speaking to News18, she said the officials tried to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, which is not permitted. “They wanted to search even the Garbha Gudu (sanctum sanctorum). It is sacrilege. It is blasphemous. We did not allow them to do that. They searched the temple and returned with empty hands. There was nothing in the temple or at our house,” she said.
She even alleged that I-T officials asked her if they were keeping Deve Gowda family’s money at the temple.
Deve Gowda’s son and Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has attacked the BJP government at the Centre for the raid on the family temple. Addressing an election meeting at Kunigal in Tumkur district, he too said it was sacrilege.
“Income Tax officials did not spare even a Hindu temple. The so-called Hindu party BJP has searched our family temple today. They found nothing there. The same Lord Shiva will decimate the BJP for this blasphemous act,” he said.
He added that even his father’s grandfather had been a devotee of the temple and accused PM Narendra Modi of harassing political opponents with I-T raids closer to elections.
“Earlier, they used to raid offices and houses. Now they have crossed all limits. They have raided even a temple. Will the Hindus tolerate this?” he asked.
The politically motivated I-T raids on the close associates of Gowda family in the last one month has led to furore in Karnataka. Protesting this, the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition had even laid siege to Income Tax office in Bengaluru last week.
Kumaraswamy has alleged that I-T director general in Bengaluru has been ordering raids against Modi’s political opponents for “post-retirement constitutional position”. He also warned that the state government has a dossier on “illegal assets” of DG, Income Tax department.
The Congress and JDS have demanded the dismissal of I-T officials who raided the ancient temple.