Aland on boil as Hindus, Muslims vie for right over shrine
This town in the Kalaburagi district in the North Karnataka region was boil after Hindu and Muslim groups converged at the shrine of Ladle Mashak Dargah which is the only attraction in this small city.
Aland (Kalaburagi): This town in the Kalaburagi district in the North Karnataka region was boil after Hindu and Muslim groups converged at the shrine of Ladle Mashak Dargah which is the only attraction in this small city. The dargah has a Shivaling inside and Hindu groups particularly belonging to the Shiva sect from Veerashaiva, Lingayat and even Vaishnavas in the area used to offer Shivarathri prayers and bhajans.
This collision of interest was due to the fact that both Mahashivarathri and the Uroos (annual Islamic ritual at the Dargah) converged on the same day on Tuesday. As the Hindu and Muslim groups arrived at the dargah on the same day and time tensions prevailed for a few hours with both standing just a few meters away from each other.
In the follow up of events Muslim groups pelted stones on the cars of the government officials, Union Minister of Fertilisers Bhagavant Khooba and MLAs. In retaliation Hindu groups also pelted stones. On Wednesday the police filed FIRs against 72 people and took 160 people into custody for rioting and violating prohibitory orders clamed in the city under section 144 of CrPC. The prohibitory orders will continue till Saturday, according to the district administration.
According to the police, a few more people involved in the riots were still at large. The Deputy Commissioner's vehicle has been badly damaged in the stone-pelting. Luckily, the top district officials including the DC escaped unhurt.
"Why a Shivaling is inside the dargah is the question now being probed by the Hindu leaders. Perhaps it was a Shiva temple before the Islamic forces built a dargah there," said the Hindu activists. The Muslim clerics however claim that the Laadle Mashak Dargah was centuries old. The Raghava Chaitanya Shivaling is one of the oldest shrines in South India, say the Hindu Shiiva pundits in Aland city. The annual ritual of Ganabhisheka was performed by the Hindus every year for ages on Mahashivarathri, they claimed.
The seculars in the city however say the Shivling in the Eshwar temple, which is located within the precincts of Laadle Mashak Dargah. For a long time, the Eshwar temple and dargah have symbolised Hindu-Muslim unity.
Special worship and cleansing service were held in the temple on the festival of Shivratri. The Shab-e-Barat ritual was held at the Laadle Mashak Dargah on the same day.
Following the incidents on Tuesday, Sriram Sena founder Pramod Muthalik, Hindu activist Chaitra Kundapura, and Siddalinga swami have been barred from entering Kalaburagi district till Thursday. Hindutva organisations objected to the district administration's decision. At the desecrated temple, Siddalinga Swamiji has ordained the right to lead a cleansing ritual procession.
Pramod Muthalik has berated the Shahabad police for apprehending Chaitra Kundapur, who attempted to defy the instructions and enter the district. Pramod Muthalik said that the Kalaburgi District Commissioner is anti-Hindu.
The situation is under control, according to Kalaburagi Superintendent of Police Yeshwanth Gurukar on Wednesday. Security has been beefed up around the Shrine.
On Tuesday, tensions rose at the Ladle Mashak Dargah, with Hindus and Muslims disputing over their respective rights to celebrate at the site. Anticipating rioting the police had made elaborate bundobust despite which a significant number of worshippers flocked to the dargah, authorities were able to keep them at least 100 metres away from the shrine.
Activists from several Hindu organisations, however, arrived in Aland in trucks and began marching towards the dargah, led by MLAs Subhash Guttedar, Basavaraj Mattimud, Rajkumar Patil Telkur, and Union minister Bhagawant Khooba.
Muslims began gathered in large numbers, accusing BJP functionaries and Hindu organisation members of breaking the prohibitory orders and also claiming that Uroos was being targeted by them.
The management of the Ladle Mashak Dargah, on the other hand, stood resolute in keeping the shrine's gates closed and refused access to everybody. They made it clear that there will be no religious rites at the dargah on Tuesday.
Attempts by the police and the district administration to strike a truce between both groups failed as they were persistent about the rights of worship at the shrine. Meanwhile, authorities detained Siddalinga Swami of Karneshwar Math for attempting to enter Aland, while Chaitra Kundapur, a Hindu activist going for Kalaburagi, was barred from continuing her journey in Yadgir. As a precaution, Sri Rama Sene President Pramod Muthalik was prohibited from visiting Kalaburagi. The memorial of Ladle Mashak Ansari, a Sufi saint, makes the dargah a holy site for Muslims, while Guru Raghavachaitanya's memorial makes it an important sacred site for Hindus. Since the 14th century, devotees of both faiths have visited the place.
B.R. Patil, former Deputy Chairman of Legislative Council and former MLA for Aland, blamed the local police and administration for the communal riot in Kalaburagi district on Tuesday and demanded strict legal action against the miscreants who resorted to violence as well as the police officers who failed to bring the situation under control. "On the previous day, Section 144 [of the Criminal Procedure Code] was imposed on Aland taluk. Union Minister Bhagwant Khooba Instead of arresting them immediately for violating the prohibitory order, the police let them stir the crowd and create communal tension until 4 p.m". Mr Patil told
He also urged that criminal charges be filed against BJP officials who disobeyed the prohibitory orders, as well as miscreants who pelted stones and local police officers who permitted them to cause chaos by not holding them early in the morning.