Karnataka

State government set on protecting syncretic nature of Bababudan Dargah

The cave shrine in Chikkamagaluru will retain its syncretic nature as a dargah venerated by both Hindus and Muslims.

The cave shrine in Chikkamagaluru will retain its syncretic nature as a dargah venerated by both Hindus and Muslims.   | Photo Credit: File Photo

more-in

According to sources privy to the content of the report, the committee has maintained that no rituals based on the Agama tradition could be allowed in the shrine.

The State government has opposed the demand to declare the Sri Guru Dattatreya Bababudan Swami Dargah near Chikkamagaluru as an exclusively Hindu place of worship, accepting the report submitted by an expert committee headed by Justice Nagamohan Das. With this, the government has confirmed that the cave shrine will retain its syncretic nature as a dargah venerated by both Hindus and Muslims.

The State Cabinet decided to accept the report on Saturday. According to sources privy to the content of the report, the committee has maintained that no rituals based on the Agama tradition could be allowed in the shrine. Any change in the nature of the shrine would be a violation of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. On the matter of administration of the shrine, the committee has said that the government could treat it on the lines of any other religious institution in the State.

The committee was constituted on July 13 last year. The terms of reference issued while appointing the committee stated that it would go through the Endowment Commissioner’s recommendations on the rituals to be followed at the shrine, submitted to the Supreme Court on March 10, 2010. Besides that, the committee would consider the objections to the recommendations and the petitions filed before the government following the apex court’s final order, which was pronounced on September 3, 2015. The court had directed the government to take a call on the Endowment Commissioner’s recommendations.

The committee conducted hearings in Bengaluru. Several groups, including Hindutva activists demanding that the shrine be declared a Hindu place of worship, supporters of Ghouse Mohiyuddin Shah Khadri, the hereditary administrator of the shrine, and representatives of the Komu Souharda Vedike, submitted documents before it.

Report to SC

Law Minister T.B. Jayachandra said the State would submit this report to the Supreme Court, which recently ordered issue of notice to the government over a contempt petition filed by Shah Khadri alleging that the government had not complied with the apex court’s order. When The Hindu contacted him following the government’s acceptance of the committee’s report, Shah Khadri said: “I wish not to comment on the issue at the moment as I have not gone through the report.”

The controversy erupted in 1975 when the State government decided to transfer the shrine from the Muzrai Department to the wakf board. Till then, Bababudangiri had been a pilgrimage centre visited by both Hindus and Muslims. Hindus treated it as the abode of Dattatreya Swamy, while Muslims considered it the place of Dada Hayat Mir Qalandar.

Temple or dargah

The BJP and other Hindutva groups have been demanding that the shrine be declared a Hindu place of worship and a Hindu priest be appointed. For years, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has been mobilising crowd support by organising Datta Jayanti and Datta Mala Abhiyan. However, the expert committee has rejected this demand citing lack of evidence to support the claim that it was a temple.

Besides that, changing the nature of the place at the moment would be against the law. Any change in the nature of the shrine would be a violation of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. The law prohibits the conversion of the religious nature of any place of worship from its existence as on the day India got independence. As a result, there is no scope to appoint a priest to the shrine, the committee report says.

Komu Souharda Vedike, one of the petitioners, welcomed the government’s move to accept the report. Shivasundar, a member of the forum’s State committee, said: “It is a victory for the forum’s long battle, in which Gauri Lankesh, who was murdered last year, played a big role.”

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 | Jan 18, 2020 3:28:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/state-government-set-on-protecting-syncretic-nature-of-bababudan-dargah/article22926255.ece

Next Story