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Security tightened in Karnataka’s Srirangapatna ahead of Hindu Jagarana Vedike yatra

The yatra aims to ramp up efforts seeking to restore the Moodalabagilu Hanuman Temple at Srirangapatna’s Jamia Masjid site which, right-wing activists claim, was constructed after demolishing the temple.

karnataka news, police, indian expressOver a thousand police personnel have been deputed in Srirangapatna to prevent any untoward incident. (File Representational Photo)

The police Sunday tightened security in the historic town of Srirangapatna in Karnataka’s Mandya district where the right-wing outfit Hindu Jagarana Vedike will take out a Sankeerthana Yatra later in the day, officials said.

The yatra aims to ramp up efforts seeking to restore the Moodalabagilu Hanuman Temple at the town’s Jamia Masjid site which, right-wing activists claim, was constructed after demolishing the temple. Over a thousand police personnel have been deputed in Srirangapatna to prevent any untoward incident as the procession is set to pass near the mosque, officers added. The yatra will begin at the Nimishamba temple and conclude at Ranganathaswamy temple.

Hanuman devotees from across Mandya district will take part in the procession in which local BJP leaders, including district president C P Umesh, are also expected to take part. According to reports, the BJP district unit had issued directions to all ticket aspirants for the upcoming Assembly elections to ensure the participation of supporters from various taluks of Mandya.

Built around 1782 during the rule of Tipu Sultan, the Jamia Masjid in Srirangapatna, about 120 km from Bengaluru, is a heritage site maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

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In November this year, various right-wing outfits decided to petition the High Court of Karnataka seeking directions to hand over the mosque for the construction of the temple. Tension had gripped the town in June this year over the issue, forcing the district administration to clamp prohibitory orders.

N S Rangaraju, retired professor of ancient history and archaeology at the University of Mysore told The Indian Express recently that though it was true that there was a temple built during the Vijayanagara empire, it was in ruins when Tipu Sultan ascended to power.

Usually, such temples survive on the patronage of royal families. “But there was a time when everyone gave up and the temple was ruined. By the time Tipu Sultan came to power, there was no place for him to worship. He chose to build a mosque close to his palace and later shifted the Hanuman temple to another place in the same town,” Rangaraju said, adding that Tipu did not demolish or destroy the temple.

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This, however, is contradicted by right-wing historians who insist that the temple was demolished.

The yatra and the dispute surrounding the mosque in Mandya are seen as an attempt to polarise voters ahead of the elections next year. The BJP has been trying to make inroads in the district, which has little history of communal strife and is currently dominated by the Congress and JD(S).

First published on: 04-12-2022 at 14:12 IST
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