As part of the three-day Datta Jayanti celebrations from Tuesday, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad is seeking permission to conduct Hindu rituals at the 16th-century Baba Budangiri Sufi shrine in Karnataka’s Chikkamagalur.
Tuesday marks 30 years since the demolition of the Babri Masjid, yet the darkest moment in India’s history as an independent nation is being remembered not with regret but with hints of insatiable thirst.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has sought permission to conduct Hindu rituals at the 16th-century Baba Budangiri Sufi shrine in Karnataka’s Chikkamagalur as part of the three-day Datta Jayanti celebrations starting on Tuesday.
Until now, the ceremonies for this event were held in a building in the courtyard not far from the shrine. VHP intends to move rituals at Sufi shrine.
The cave temple came to be known as the “Ayodhya of the South” as a result of the clashes and legal battles surrounding it after the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Baba Budan, a Sufi monk credited with introducing coffee culture to India by bringing seeds from Yemen, is a shrine.
Chikkamagaluru is one of the richest coffee growing regions in the country. But in the 1990s, the Sangh Parivar launched a campaign for Ayodhya, claiming a special Sufi shrine that ignited a firestorm of controversy.
Some Muslims call the shrine Baba Budan, while others refer to it as the Datta Peetha of Sri Guru Dattatreya, believed by devotees to be an incarnation of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma.
The latest request comes shortly after the Karnataka High Court granted permission last week to continue the three-day Datta Jayanti celebrations at the cave shrine grounds, more than 300 km from Bengaluru.
In a request to the Sri Guru Dattatreya Bababudan Swami Dargah/ Peeth Management Committee, Chikkamagalur District VHP Secretary Yogeshraj Urs requested permission to perform homam-like pujas at the shrine throughout the approaching Jayanthi celebrations.
“We were conducting these ceremonies in a hut beyond the competition area, but now we want to conduct them in the shrine grounds,” he told reporters, adding that Hindu priests recently appointed by the state government would oversee the rituals. The state BJP government on Sunday approved the appointment of two Hindu priests specially for Dutta Jayanti celebrations.
Due to a writ petition currently pending in the High Court challenging the annulment of the order by the Congress government led by P.C. Siddaramaiah appointed a Mujawar (Muslim religious leader) for the shrine and the government limited the role of priests to three days of celebrations.
A single judge panel of the High Court dismissed the government orders contested by the Dattatreya Devasthanam Samvardhana Samiti 2021. Syed Ghaus Mohiuddin Shah Khadri, the hereditary manager of the Sufi shrine, filed a writ petition before a division bench of the High Court.
The hearing of the case, which was to be held on November 30, was postponed to January 12. Speaking to the media, Khadri said, “We are bringing a contempt of court case as this demand (of the VHP) is against the court order seeking status quo.
To keep the issue alive before the assembly elections, they raised this new demand.The controversy began years after the demolition of the Babri Masjid, when Sangh Parivar organizations in Karnataka launched large-scale movements to demand the right to perform rituals at the cave sanctuary.
In 1998, the VHP and affiliates started Dutta Jayanti celebrations, while Muslims continued to hold Urus in March to commemorate Baba Budan’s death anniversary.