Tight security in place for 'Sankeerthana Yatra' at Datta Peetha

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Chikmagalur, Oct 23 (UNI) Bharatiya Janata Party and its right wing associates today vowed to conduct 'Sankeerthana Yatra' at the controversial cave shrine in this district even as the authorites allowed a conditional access.

The cave shrine on the picturesque Bababudangiri hills, which houses both a shrine and a tomb, is visited by the people belonging to both Hindu and Muslim communities and has remained controversial for a long time.

The district administration had put in place elaborate security measures with more than police force numbering more than 3000 to be deployed in the town as well as at the hill shrine.

Karnataka Director General of Police K R Sreenivasan told UNI that central forces would be deployed in addition to state police both in Chikmagalur and the Bababudangiri hills.

"Two companies of RAF, one company of CRPF along with 15 companies of State reserve police will be deployed'' he said exuding confidence over tight security arrangements that would prevent any untoward incident.

Deputy Commissioner Navin Raj Singh said that people of were free to conduct yatra but can only visit the shrine and no 'puja' or 'homa' could be allowed to be performed.

Karnataka Governor Rameshwar Thakur on Saturday instructed the officials to maintain the status-quo at the site as per the high court orders which had allowed both the communities to perform rights but ruled against any construction or demolition to take place in the cave.

The district administration today allowed the people of the district to perform puja at the peetha but barred outsiders to enter the shrine. It had put 18 conditions which mainly include that no puja will take place in the cave shrine tomorrow and outsiders will not be allowed to take out yatra. The 'maladharis' (pilgrims) should go in the route as prescribed by the administration. It also prescribed certain slogans not to be used during the yatra and said elephants or any other animals also will not be allowed in the yatra.

Meanwhile, extreme rightist Sri Rama Sene General Secretary Gangadhar Kulkarni, who held a press conference here today, urged the administration that at least one seer be allowed to perform puja in the shrine. He said more than 20,000 pilgrims from outside the district were expected to arrive in the town tomorrow and demanded the administration to allow them to visit the shrime.

UNI

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