Yede Snana, the controversial ritual of devotees rolling over "prasadam" offered to the diety, was performed at the Kukke Subramanya temple on the inaugural day of the three-day annual festival on Tuesday amid tight security.
Over 20,000 devotees reportedly visited the temple in the Dakshina Kannada district.
The legally permissible Yede Snana is a modified version of the highly criticised "Made Snana", the ritual in which devotees roll over leftovers left by Brahmins.
According to The New Indian Express, retired professor K S Bhagwan had requested the government to ban the ritual of Yede Snana stating that the "inhuman" practice is against the spirit of the Constitution. Bhagwan also said that Vishwesha Teertha Swamiji of Udupi Pejawar mutt should take part in the ritual himself before advising people about it.
The Karnataka Backward Class Awareness Forum (KBCAF) has announced that they will hold a 'massive' protest in Mysuru on January 15 against such "regressive" religious practices and will also demand the anti-superstition bill, PTI reported.
On December 12, KS Shivaram, president of KBCAF challenged Sri Vishweshateertha Swamiji to hold a 'sahapankti bhojana' or inter-caste fellowship meal with civic workers and people from the Dalit and backward class communities if he was indeed concerned about them.
A Daiji World report quoted him as saying during a press conference, "The practice of Yede Snana as suggested by Pejawar Swamiji in place of Made Snana should also be stopped. Such practices reinforce caste discrimination and varna system by suppressing the lower caste.
Made Snana is an inhuman practice and a blind belief. We want equality, hence such kind of superstitions should not be practised. We will also demand the chief minister to pass the anti-superstition bill.
Pejawar Swamiji goes to Dalit colonies out of concern and hold padayatra, but if he has real concern, he should hold a 'sahapankti bhojana' with civic workers and people from Dalit and backward communities during the upcoming Paryaya on January 18. We will also give him a memorandum on this, and if he agrees, I too will participate."