There are several shrines in Karnataka which are known for its syncretic traditions. People from all walks of life visit these shrines irrespective of their caste and religion. These shrines are under threat for the past many years from the Sangh Parivar. They want to convert the shrine into Hindu places of worship.
The Sangamesha shrine in Haveri district is one such place where hundreds of Hindus and Muslims walked together in a pilgrimage. The idea of the shrine is founded on equality where everyone walks together. There used to be a time when the Hindus and Muslims offered prayer at the same spot in the shrine. But somewhere along the way, that stopped. There are some rituals which both the communities carry out together.
Not so long ago, under the influence of the Sangh Parivar, the Hindus started claiming it as a Hindu place of worship. They are even trying to hide the fact that there is tomb in the shrine and they want to demolish the structure which looks like a Durgah. In 2014, the Sangh Parivar tried to convert the shrine into a Hindu temple which aggravated communal tensions in the area. The issue is currently in the court.
The attempt to demolish Muslim structures, places of worship is not a new demand. This is what happened to the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. With the Sangh Parivar’s desperate attempt to break into the cultural life of South India through Karnataka, more such deliberate disputes are likely to arise in the state.