[November 25, 2003] | www.sacw.net

Massive anti-communal convention planned in Chikkamagalur in karnataka [India] to prote[s]t the hindutva onslaught on the Bababudangiri shrine


Dear friends,

Indian political scene is entering another phase of communal cauldron. As the general elections are fast approaching, the Ayodhya issue is being raked up again with a fascist vigor. And are 'discovering' 'Ayodhyas' all over India. And in that pursuit they have 'discovered' such an issue in 'Bababudangiri', a Sufi shrine in the midst of Western Ghats in Karnataka.Since 1998, fascist forces of sangh parivar are trying to rake up anti-Muslim fanaticism in Karnataka by mobilizing campaign for the 'liberating Bababudangiri and recovering Dattatreya Peetha'. Since 5 years, they are using the religious sentiments of Hindu devotees as cannon fodder for their anti Muslim programme and the same time brahminising the Dutta cult, which in fact is synchronous with Sufi cult, identified with oppressed masses.

But the ploys of sangh parivar are being successfully challenged by the secular and democratic forces of Karnataka and they have been partially successful in forcing them to be on the defensive.Last year, many progressive and democratic organizations and individuals from Shimoga and Chikkamagalur regions of Karnataka took the initiative in mobilizing all the secular forces of different ideological faiths, under the singular task of resisting the attempts of parivar to saffronise Karnataka by using the issue. More than 450 intellectuals and 150 organizations all over Karnataka were united under the banner of 'save Bababudangiri committee'. A huge gathering of more than 10,000 people was organized in Chikkamagalur, just 10 days after the parivar gathering in the same town, which had in fact terrorized minorities. This historical event boosted the morale of victimized minority people, increased the confidence of secular forces and pushed the fascist forces to the wall.

This year, being the election year, BJP has already declared that they would make Bababudangiri, 'Ayodhya of south'. VHP-BD is organizing a similar congregation, with a declared motive of destroying the shrine this time. Already in a smaller dry run, they have already destroyed the shops belonging to the Muslim community, near the shrine.They have already declared that on December 7th a gathering for 'liberating Dutta Peetha' shall be organized in Chikkamagalur.

The secular and democratic forces of Karnataka have taken up this as a challenge and have declared that they would also organize a similar rally on the same day to 'save Bababudangiri'. We believe this 'aggressive secularism' could only be the real answer to growing fascism. On Dec.21st we are also planning to hold a rally under the slogan 'let us build souharda Karnataka' at the same place. We have been successful in mobilizing all secular forces for this task.

We appeal to all the anti-communal and progressive forces to support this effort, in all possible means, funds, propaganda, participation etc.We consider our fight against Hindu fascism in Karnataka is part and parcel of the same at all India level.

You can:
1. Release press statements, collect signatures of as many people as possible and send them to S.M.Krishna, chief minister, Vidhana Soudha, Bangalore-560001 [India]. Or send mails to smk@bangaloreit.com, demanding not to permit sangh parivar to communalise the issue, not to allow provocative meetings, speeches and slogans by sangh parivar. etc

2. Publicize this issue and the efforts against it as widely as possible.

3. Participate in the events, which are organized in this regard.
Mobilize the funds to make success the programme. You can send the cheuqes/dds in the name of Sarjashankar Haralimath payable at Shimoga.

(Convener,Bababudangiri souharda vedike)
Contact address: K.L.Ashok, convener, Bababudangiri souharda vedike,
Dharanishiva nilaya 2nd cross, Bapooji nagar, Shimoga, Karnataka-577 201 [India].
Phone: 0- 94481 55604 (Dr.Vasu). E-mail: <souhardagiri2002@rediffmail.com>

[See Related Material]
The Hindu, Nov 26, 2003

[Karnataka] Intellectuals plan peace meet
By Our Special Correspondent

A delegation of writers, artists, and thinkers, led by the Jnanpith Award winner, Girish Karnad (third from left), calling on the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna (right), in Bangalore on Tuesday. Gouri Lankesh and G.K. Govindarao, members of the delegation, are seen. - Photo: K. Gopinathan

Bangalore Nov. 25. Writers, artists, and thinkers will hold a peace and communal harmony meet at Chikmagalur on December 7 and 8 if the State Government fails to ban the "Shoba Yatra" at Bababudangiri. Eminent writers, artists, film-makers, and other intellectuals from all over the State will attend the meet.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, the writers, Girish Karnad, K. Marulasiddappa, G.K. Govinda Rao, Gauri Lankesh, V.S. Sreedhara, and Sudra Srinivas, said the purpose of holding the meet was to assert the cultural importance of Bababudangiri.

Mr. Karnad told presspersons here on Tuesday that the Government should ban religious functions such as Datta Jayanthi celebration, Shobha Yatra, Datta Maala, and yagnas on the hills.

Disturbed by the constant political references to the Dattatreya Peetha at Bababudangiri, he and others visited the hills on November 21 and talked to the local people who were frightened as the situation was tense following the newly introduced so-called religious practices such as the Datta Maala.

Allowing such practices would only add to the already tense situation at Chikmagalur and surrounding localities, Mr. Karnad said and urged the Chief Minister to ban religious activities at the famed hills.
For a detailed discussion of the history of the Baba Budhan shrine and the controversy surrounding it, please visit the below link : http://www.islaminterfaith.org/mar2003/issue.html

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