Karnataka govt. clears appointment of two Hindu priests for Bababudangiri shrine

The Karnataka government on Saturday issued orders clearing the appointment of two Hindu priests on a temporary basis to perform puja at Sri Guru Dattatreya Bababudan Swami Peetha/Dargah, a syncretic cave-shrine atop Bababudangiri in Chikkamagaluru district. The nature of religious ritual in this shrine has been a matter of dispute, leading to an extended legal battle.

The two priests — Sandeep P.M. and Sridhar K. — would be performing Hindu rituals during the Datta Jayanti celebrations, the Religious Endowment Department said in its direction to the Deputy Commissioner of Chikkamagaluru. It noted that their role would be limited to performing puja during Datta Jayanti, as there was a pending writ appeal on the nature of religious rituals.

Addressing a gathering at BJP’s ‘Jan Sankalpa Yatre’ at Koppa in the district recently, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had indicated that the government was set to appoint priests, a demand that Hindutva organisations have been making.

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