Hindu zealots raid Muslim sacred shrine

HINDU NATIONALISTS are threatening to re-enact theevents of six years ago when a mosque in the north-Indian state of Uttar Pradesh was demolished by a Hindu mob.

Today, at a shrine in the south-western state of Karnataka, near the town of Chikmagalur, the same forces are expected to attempt a re-run of the events which provoked a communal bloodbath in which hundreds died.

Six years ago on Sunday, Hindu nationalists tore down the Babri Masjid mosque in Ayodhya. It stood, they claimed, on the ruins of a Hindu temple marking the birthplace of the Hindu god Ram.

The site where the second action is threatened, known as Baba Budan Giri, is a religious hill town 170 miles from the state capital of Bangalore.

Baba Budan Giri is revered by Hindus and Muslims. It contains a Muslim shrine to the 18th-century mystic Sufi saint, Baba Budan, and a Hindu holy cave of Saint Datthathreya is located next to it.

Hindu leaders said they were not opposed to worship by Muslims at what they saw as their shrine but only sought to draw attention to alleged acts of sacrilege near the holy cave.

"We are only against the desecration of our shrine and are not against worship by both communities side by side," said JS Subba Rao of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, one of the Hindu groups involved.

About 4,000 Hindus are taking part in processions from different parts of the state to culminate in Baba Budan Giri. Today is the birthday of Saint Datthathreya and five "rath yatras", or Hindu processions, will converge on the shrine with the goal, according to organisers, of "liberating it from Muslim control" .

In anticipation of trouble, 22 platoons of police reserves have been dispatched to the site, barricades have been thrown up to limit the number of people who can approach the shrine at one time to 15, and closed-circuit television has been installed.

The site was peaceful yesterday, with only a handful of Hindu activists chanting slogans.

The authorities are, however, braced for violence today.

When Ayodhya's mosque was demolished, the man heading the yatra which sparked the action was a Hindu nationalist named Lal Krishna Advani. Today, Mr Advani is Minister for Home Affairs in the nationalist BJP party- led government.

Since he and his party gained office eight months ago, the plans to build a vast Hindu temple at Ayodhya have been finalised, and work on the elaborately carved stones is now far advanced. The organisers insist that building will go ahead whether the Supreme Court - now considering the controversy - gives them permission or not.

Today the Ayodhya site is like a war zone, with massed watchtowers and barricades and throngs of soldiers. The Karnataka authorities are deeply alarmed that the Chikmagalur shrine could go the same way.

But a Hindu spokesman said: "Our aim is not to have any confrontation. We recognise it as a place of both Sufi and Hindu saints, and want that it should be a fine example of how two communities can co-exist."

Fine words; but the sort of co-existence envisaged at Ayodhya has one community firmly beneath the other's heel.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
A poster by Durham Constabulary
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Emily McDowell Card that reads:
artCancer survivor Emily McDowell kicks back at the clichés
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvBadalamenti on board for third series
Life and Style
Standing room only: the terraces at Villa Park in 1935
Ben Stokes celebrates with his team mates after bowling Brendon McCullum
sportEngland vs New Zealand report
Amal Clooney has joined the legal team defending 'The Hooden Men'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine