A pilgrim spot for Hindus and Muslims, the celebrations are fraught with tension with more than 3,500 policemen deployed, section 144 imposed and tourist entry restricted on December 20, 21 and 22.

Ktaka police on high alert for Datta Jayanti celebrations in Bababudangiri
news Religion Friday, December 21, 2018 - 15:42

Chikkamagaluru police are on high alert ahead of this year's Datta Jayanti celebrations at the Inam Dattatreya Peeta, a syncretic shrine on top of the Bababudangiri Hills in the district. The Datta Jayanthi is a Hindu festival commemorating the birthday celebration of the Hindu god Dattatreya or Datta who is considered to be the incarnation of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Over the last twenty years, pro-Hindu activists have fervently celebrated the festival by carrying out processions and rallies.

Like every year for the last twenty years, the celebrations are fraught with tension with more than 3,500 policemen deployed, section 144 imposed and tourist entry restricted for the celebrations on December 20,21 and 22.

The police have also installed CCTV cameras along the route of the Shobhayatre which is taking place on Friday. The Datta Jayanti celebrations in the dargah/peetha will take place on Saturday. 

"No untoward incidents have taken place so far and the police are on high alert to ensure that the celebrations continue peacefully," confirmed Chikkamagaluru SP Harish Pande. 

Restrictions on tourist entry to major hill stations in the district including the shrine in Bababudangiri were put in place on Friday while movement of heavy vehicles to the winding roads leading up to the shrine were banned earlier in the week. 

Activists of pro-Hindu organisations thronged to the shrine on Thursday and Friday. Among the devotees visiting the shrine was Chikkamagaluru MLA CT Ravi. Speaking to the media he said, "We have sought the blessings for the BJP to come back to power in the Lok Sabha elections next year." 

The syncretic shrine is a pilgrim spot for both Hindus and Muslims. Muslims believe that the dargah is one of the earliest centres of Sufism in India while in the last two decades, pro-Hindu organisations have held massive processions demanding that the shrine be turned into a Hindu temple. 

A year ago, a few youths entered the burial ground near the shrine and damaged plaques and name boards on the site. Few members of a pro-Hindu group also pelted stones at a private bus. Both incidents were brought under control by the police who resorted to a mild lathi-charge. Cases were filed against 10 people in connection with the two incidents and then Chikkamagaluru SP Annamalai also held a peacekeeping meeting between leaders of both Hindu and Muslim communities in the district.

Read: BJP’s Ayodhya in Karnataka: Trouble at Bababudangiri on Datta Jayanti

 

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