Govt. may have to seek more time from SC on Bababudangiri dispute

A file photo of Guru Dattatreya Bababudan Swami Dargah atop Bababudangiri in Chikkamagaluru.

A file photo of Guru Dattatreya Bababudan Swami Dargah atop Bababudangiri in Chikkamagaluru.  

The State government may have to seek more time from the Supreme Court to arrive at a decision on the title claims over the controversial cave shrine atop Bababudangiri, near Chikkamagaluru, and the rituals to be practised there.

The Cabinet sub-committee constituted to deliberate on these issues has not met even once so far; it is scheduled to hold its first meeting on Wednesday.

Following a long legal battle over the rituals at Sri Guru Datta Bababudan Swami Dargah, the Supreme Court, in its order on March 27, had directed the government to make clear its stand in six weeks. Monday was the deadline for this.

For years, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and Hindutva groups have been demanding that the shrine be declared a Hindu place of worship. Syed Gouse Mohiuddin Shah Khadri has questioned this demand, arguing that he is the hereditary administrator.

The controversy was born in 1975 when the State government decided to transfer the shrine from the Muzrai Department to the Wakf Board. Till then, this had been a pilgrim place frequented by both Hindus and Muslims. While Hindus treated it as the abode of Dattatreya Swami, Muslims considered it the place of Dada Hayat Mir Qualandar. The syncretic shrine has since been part of a series of court battles going all the way up to the apex court.

In response to a plea by members of the Komu Souharda Vedike, which included U.R. Ananthamurthy and members of Citizens for Peace, the Supreme Court in December 2008 ordered that status quo be maintained at the shrine. It also allowed a fresh inquiry on the matter. But with the government delaying action, Mr. Shah Khadri moved the Supreme Court, which sought the government’s response within six weeks.


Meanwhile, BJP leaders C.T. Ravi, D.N. Jeevaraj and a few seers have met Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and submitted a memorandum. They maintain that Bababudan Dargah and Datta Peetha are two structures located in different villages. “The shrine is a Hindu temple, while the dargah is located about 25 km away in Nagenahalli,” Mr. Jeevaraj told the media.

However, his argument has been opposed by Mr. Shah Khadri and the leaders of Komu Souharda Vedike. “The argument of the BJP leaders is based on some mistakes committed by officials. We have historical documents to prove the shrine is a dargah,” Mr. Shah Khadri said.

Shivasundar of Komu Souharda Vedike told The Hindu that the BJP leaders’ argument was only to avoid the implications of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, which prohibits the conversion of the religious nature of any place of worship from its existence as on the day India achieved independence. “Interestingly, the BJP leaders were not making this argument till as recently as 2007. We have provided documents dating back to Tipu Sultan’s era to prove that it is a dargah and that Nagenahalli village is part of the Inam land granted to the cave shrine,” he said.

Mr. Shivasundar said the government should constitute an expert committee comprising a retired judge, a historian and an administrator to look into the issue.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 9:51:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/govt-may-have-to-seek-more-time-from-sc-on-bababudangiri-dispute/article18410847.ece

Next Story