Chikkamagaluru: The Muslim community has decided to stay away from the three-day Urus that begins from Wednesday at the controversial Inam Dattatreya Baba Budangiri Dargah in the district.
The urus, organised to observe the death anniversary of a Sufi saint, is led by the district administration. The Muslim leaders have placed a slew of demands before the state government for their participation.
The state government had recently formed a managing committee, which is being opposed by the Muslim community members. The community has demanded that the appointment of the priest and management committee for the controversial site must be dropped.
The demand is also placed for allowing them to place green clothes on graves and conduct worship. The community has already submitted a memorandum in this regard to the authorities and they are also preparing to stage a protest at the controversial site.
The controversial site is mentioned as Sri Guru Dattatreya Bababudan Swamy Darga in the government records. There is a dispute on whether this place belongs to Muslims or Hindus. The place is also called Baba Budangiri and Dattatreya Peetha.
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 centers 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 the 17th century from Yemen who settled in the shrine is credited with planting the first coffee seeds in the Indian sub-continent. The controversy came to the fore following BJP launching ‘Datta Mala Abhiyaan’ in 1998 here.