Chikkamagaluru: The Datta Peeta row has come to the fore yet again in Karnataka with the Sri Ram Sena opposing the Islamic practices to be carried out at the Bababudangiri-Datta Peeta hills.
Sri Rama Sena state president Gangadhar Kulakarni stated on Monday that for 20 years a struggle had been launched to make Datta Peeta a Hindu worship centre completely.
“We have got success and a Hindu priest has been appointed for the Datta Peeta. Now, it’s totally a Hindu religious centre, there is no Baba Budan here,” he stated stirring a controversy.
“The Shakhadri family (family of priests who took care of Islamic rituals) do not have any job now in Datta Peeta. They can go to Nagenahalli Dargah and continue their practice. The Shakadri family is misusing the name of Datta Peeta and harming wildlife.
“The presence of Shakadri is not acceptable at a Hindu religious centre. It is to be seen whether the district administration pushes Shakadri out or the Sri Rama Sena should do the job,” he stated.
“Thousands of acres belonging to Datta Peeta have been encroached upon and a dress code has to be made compulsory. Women should come in sarees and men also should come to the Datta Peeta in Hindu traditional attire. We won’t allow them if they come in another dress. The Urus celebration should not happen at Datta Peeta and graves should be shifted to Dargah,” he demanded.
Though Datta Peeta, the shrine in Chikkamagaluru has been a pilgrimage spot for both Hindus and Muslims, the BJP is demanding that the site be declared a Hindu temple.
Before 1964, the shrine was revered by both Hindus and Muslims. It symbolised Sufi culture and unity of Hindu and Islam cultures.
The shrine was known as Shree Guru Dattatreya Bababudan Swamy Dargah. What was a pilgrimage spot for the two faiths has become a disputed site between Hindus and Muslims. Hindus consider the hill to be the final resting place of Dattatreya, the Muslims believe dargah is one of the earliest centres of Sufism in south India. They believe that with Sufi saint Dada Hayat Mirkalandar having lived there for years.
Irrespective of the controversy, the local coffee planters before the harvest visit the shrine and offer worship. Fakir Bababudan, a Sufi saint of 17th century from Yemen who settled in the shrine is credited with planting the first coffee seeds in the Indian sub-continent.