The Karnataka government has issued an order for constituting a management committee, comprising both Hindus and Muslims to oversee religious practices at ‘Sri Guru Dattatreya Bababudan Swamy Dargah/ Peetha’ in Chikkamagaluru district.
The order dated July 19 is based on recommendations made by a Cabinet sub-committee headed by Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhuswamy.
The state cabinet on July 1 had accepted the recommendations made by its sub-committee.
This government order replaces the earlier order appointing Syed Ghouse Mohiyuddin Shah Khadri, a Muslim cleric, to conduct rituals at the disputed religious site, which was issued in March 2018 by the then Congress government.
According to the new order, the management committee comprising both Hindus and Muslims will appoint an ‘archaka’ and ‘mujawar’ to carry out religious practices.
The Datta Peetha issue has been a controversial one in Karnataka for several years. A Hindu shrine in the name of Dattatreya and a dargah in the name of Sufi saint Baba Budan are located at the cave in the Bababudangiri Hills of the Western Ghats.
Baba Budan was a 16th-century Sufi saint, who is said to have introduced the coffee plant to India by bringing in seven raw beans from the port of Mocha, Yemen while coming back from Hajj.
As per the order, a Hindu priest, who has passed in ‘Agama Shastra’ will be appointed to conduct daily rituals such as lighting of the nanda deepa inside the cave and offer floral prayers for the ‘Dattatreya peetha/ paduke’.
The management committee will also take measures to hold Hindu religious practices such as ‘Datta mala’, ‘Datta Jayanti’, among others, it said.
The order further states that the mujawar appointed by the management committee will carry out customs at the dargah every evening and after namaz on Mondays and Thursdays.
The annual Urus will be held under the ”guidance and supervision” of the committee, it said, adding that the committee will also ”guide” the mujawar on what is to be done during Urus.