The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP youth wing joins anti-shrine campaign

Bangalore, Jan. 5: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s reservations over the Prime Minister’s and his deputy’s commitment to Hindutva have not stopped the BJP’s Karnataka youth wing from following in the saffron outfit’s footsteps.

The Bharatiya Janata Party Yuva Morcha here is ready to kick off a “Datta Peetha Satya Sandesha Yatra” to promote the VHP’s stand on a Sufi shrine in Chikamagalur.

Baba Buden Darga, named after the Sufi saint who set it up, has been at the centre of a controversy for several decades. Recently, the VHP leadership, including the organisation’s international general secretary Praveen Togadia, landed at the shrine, claiming it was a Hindu religious centre.

Togadia and his VHP colleagues had celebrated Datta Jayanti there in the third week of December. At the programme, demands were made of Muslims to hand over the shrine’s management to the VHP.

On December 29, several secular organisations opposed the VHP move at a rally and warned it against converting Chikamagalur and the Baba Buden Darga into a communal cauldron.

According to Yuva Morcha state general secretary C.T. Ravi, the yatra will prove that the Datta Peetha is a Hindu religious centre. “We have all the documents to prove it. We will travel through the state to inform people.”

Ravi said people who call themselves secular are “hiding the facts about the Datta Peetha and trying to divide Muslims and Hindus”. The “truth” to be unravelled during the yatra would help strengthen communal harmony, he said.

The Yuva Morcha programme reportedly has the blessings of senior state BJP leaders. Jagadish Shettar, a senior party leader, said the youth wing had the right to organise such a campaign. The BJP has launched a campaign against the “misrule of the S.M. Krishna-led Congress state government”. The programme is expected to lend a “communally sensitive” dimension to the BJP’s campaign.

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