Sufi pir's descendant produces 'proof' of mosque

States contention on Bababudangiri incorrect and misleading

The descendant of sufi pir, Sajjada Nasheen has described as “incorrect and misleading” the Karnataka government’s contention that there was no masjid near the disputed cave shrine of Guru Dattatreya Bababudangiri Swami dargah in Chikmagalur

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 A view of Bababudangiri shrine.In a rejoinder to the State government’s affidavit submitted in the Supreme Court, Sajjada Nasheen furnished a number of documents, including official communication of as far back as 1932 and as recent as 2001, and electricity bill, clearly acknowledging the existence of the mosque on the premises.

“The contention that in fact there is no masjid at all on the premises and that what is found is a common prayer hall in a dilapidated condition, etc, is entirely incorrect and absolutely misleading,” the response filed by advocate Neela Gokhale said.

Earlier, the State government had said that following a letter by the executive engineer of public works department in November 2003, the structure was demolished as recommended since, built in mud and stones, it was in a dilapidated condition and there was no possibility of its renovation.

Stance challenged

Countering the stand, the written response made by 44-year-old Syed Ghouse Mohiuddin Shakhadri cited an archaeological report of Karnataka, dating back to 1932, showing the inscription stating ‘on the wall near the masjid’.

Besides, he claimed a letter sent on June 5, 1950, by Chikmagalur’s deputy commissioner had communicated to the ‘amaldar’ of the district with a copy to his father, “in respect of renovation of the mosque at the Dattatreya Peeth on the Bababudan Hills.”

Electrification

“It is further submitted that the Karnataka State Electricity Board has, in fact, provided electrification to the mosque, which can be clearly seen from the bill raised by it dated 9.6.1980, where it clearly states the type of premises in which respect the bill is raised to be a Darga Mosque,” the response said.

In the most recent letter February 5, 2001, the deputy commissioner communicated with Shakhadri on the details of the movable and immovable properties of the institution.

“This letter, in the column of details regarding buildings at the premises of the dargah, at item 2, shows a 78’X 40’ building to be a mosque, beside the cave building,” it said.

Preventive detention

With regard to the contention by State government that it was Sajjada himself, who has refused to participate in the Urs celebrations, he produced the photographs purportedly showing he was taken in preventive detention to restrain him from participating in the festivities.

The apex court had, on January 16, asked the Karnataka government to respond to charges made by Shakhadri, contending that the State government authorities had changed the name of the shrine. The government claimed that there is no change in the title of the board, but it is rewritten.

The dargah at Chikmagalur is visited and venerated by thousands of Hindus and Muslims alike, but there have been demands for its ‘liberation’ on the ground that it was a temple of Lord Dattatreya.

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