Rights Group Protests Radical Hindu Group's Claims to South Indian Sufi Shrine

December 10, 2003

Source: OneWorld South Asia


On December 10, 2003 OneWorld South Asia reported, "A coalition of rights groups and eminent intellectuals are protesting against the government's arrest of over 1,000 people campaigning to prevent Hindu fundamentalists from taking over a shrine in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, which is famed for its religious diversity. The arrested men and women, slated to be released today, were taken into preventive custody while they were proceeding to the Baba Boudhangiri shrine in Chikmagulur in Karnataka for a peaceful program. Among those arrested was a leading Indian playwright and actor, Girish Karnad...Eleven years after a 16th century mosque was destroyed in the north Indian temple town of Ayodhya by fundamentalists who believe the mosque was built over a Hindu temple, there is growing fear about the future of the Baba Boudhangiri shrine of Sufism -- the mystical, or psycho-spiritual dimension of Islam. The shrine has been at the center of a controversy ever since a section of religious activists began to claim it as a Hindu site seven years ago. Since 1998, groups opposed to converting it into a Hindu temple have been assembling there every year in an annual celebration of the shrine's diversity."