By N. Badarinath
The Datta Jayanti celebrations at Datta Peetha, Chikmagalur district were restricted by the government of Karnataka for reasons best known to it. Shobha yatra was prohibited by exercise of power. However, the government allowed puja to be conducted. Hurt by the appeasement policy, the public did not turn up for the celebrations.
Two seers, Sri Chandrashekhar Swami from Shankara Mutt and Sri Jnana Prabhu Deshikendra Swami from Yalanadu Mutt, who were invited by the district administration, participated in the celebrations. Sri Jayabasavananda Swami of Basava Tathwa Peetha also visited the Peetha.
In absence of the Sangh Parivar, the mujawar of Bababudansaheb Darga performed the puja, while 2,000 police personnel and district administrators watched the function. Only two tourist vehicles visited the Datta Peetha on January 15, 2005.
Putting up a brave front, the Chikmagalur Deputy Commissioners, Rajendra Kumar Kataria and B.K. Singh said they had succeeded in maintaining a proper law and order situation.
When asked about the absence of devotees, Kataria said that they had not asked the devotees to avoid attending the function. “We have not stopped the devotees. If they have faith, they will come,” he added.
On the arrest of BJP leaders, he said only those who had defied prohibitory orders were arrested and sent to jail. “We have not discriminated among the individuals,” he maintained.
With this, the three-day Datta Jayanti celebrations concluded with a lukewarm response from the devotees.
Earlier, the Sangh Parivar and BJP had announced their move to boycott the ‘government-sponsored Datta Jayanti’ celebrations, to protest the government ban on the Shobha yatra,’ which they have been taking out every year for the last few years.
Meanwhile, the Sangh Parivar celebrated Datta Jayanti in Chikmagalur town and all the headquarters by performing homas. The police claimed there was no untoward incident either at Datta Peetha or in Chikmagalur town.