“I apologise. I will never offer the fumes of frankincense to Trimbakeshwar Raja again,” said Salim Sayyad who looks after a dargah near Trimbakeshwar temple. Sayyad is one among those who have been booked by the police for hurting Hindu religious sentiments. He claimed they have been doing this for years now, after every sandal procession they reach the Trimbakeshwar temple to offer fumes of frankincense.
Notably, on May 13, a group of Muslim men carrying Chadar, tried entering the Trimbakeshwar temple in Nashik. Hindus call it an attempt of sacrilege and demand action. The Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis ordered a probe and ordered the police to set up a special investigation team (SIT).
Following his orders, Salim Sayyad and the other accused were booked under sections 295 (defiling place of worship) and 511 (moral guilt) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in this case based on a complaint by the temple authorities.
After the FIR, Sayyad told the media that, they have been doing this for years, following the first sandal procession. This was not an attempt of sacrilege as they were there to offer the fumes of frankincense. The procession is taken out from a local dargah of one Hazrat Sayyad Ghulam Shah Wali Baba.
Speaking with ABP news, Sayyad said, “When there is the annual Sandal of this dargah, we hold a procession in the town after the Sandal every year. We take proper permissions for this procession. When the procession passes from the temple, I go there and stand on the first stair of the temple and offer the fumes of frankincense to Trimbakeshwar. We call him Trimbak Raja. He is the king of this place. He rules this place. It is my belief that we are safe and prosperous here because of him. I chant Om Namah Shivay and Har Har Mahadev at the moment when I stand on the stair. I am accompanied by two-three companions who hold various things like a basket of flowers, etc. I hold the basket of Chadar on my head.”
He added, “My age is 66. My father passed away in 1994. Since then I lead to perform this ritual. Before that, my father used to do this all. I remember things very well since when I was ten years old. It is done in this way only. I don’t know why temple authorities filed a complaint against us this year. If they feel that we have erred by doing this, I apologise. I will never offer the fumes of frankincense to Trimbakeshwar Raja again. We never enter the sanctum. But we stand on the first stair. We don’t offer Chadar to Raja Trimbak. We offer the fumes as a mark of the respect we hold for him and as a mark of completion of our dargah’s Sandal. My grandfather also used to do this in the same manner. This custom is there for approximately the last 100 years.”
On May 17, members of various Hindu organisations including Hindu Mahasabha, Brahmin Mahasangh, Nashik Purohit Sangh, and Trimbakeshwar Purohit Sangh reached Trimbakeshwar temple. They performed purification rituals on the temple premises amid the chants of Har Har Mahadev. The Maha Aarti was performed after the temple purification rituals were completed. Meanwhile, police personnel were deployed to prevent any untoward incident.
Notably, the videos of the said incident were shared with captions, ‘On May 13, at night at around 9.15 pm 5-6 youths of Muslim community came to Temple carrying a flower chaddar to be offered on the Shivling, which is among the most revered 12 jyotirlingas of India. They were stopped by the guards & sent back’.
On May 15, Nashik Rural Superintendent of Police (SP) Shahaji Umap attributed the incident to a “misunderstanding”.
“The incident seems to have happened due to a misunderstanding as the Muslims wanted to go inside the temple premises when their procession was underway… We called the group of Muslims who said they will not henceforth attempt to enter the premises if it is not allowed,” Umap said.
On the other hand, the temple management team of Shri Trimbakeshwar Devasthan Trust sent a letter to the Trimbakeshwar police inspector informing about the incident. It occurred on May 13 at approximately 9:41 PM. According to the letter, during the procession of the urus near the north gate of the Shri Trimbakeshwar Mandir, certain participants from the urus attempted to enter the temple premises.