More than 2,000 police personnel deployed to maintain law and order avoided a catastrophe when many Hanuman devotees (also known as Maladharis) accompanied by Hindutva elements participating in the ongoing Sankeerthana yatra tried to enter Jamia Masjid by force on Monday.
The Sankeerthana yatra is organised by the right-wing Hindu organisation Hindu Jagarana Vedike in Srirangapatna, Mandya district.
The yatra started from the Hanuman temple near Nimishambha temple in Srirangapatna. Maladharis from Mysuru, Ramanagara, Maddur, K R Pet, Pandavapura and other places gathered near the Hanuman temple entrance, collected the Hanuman malle and dropped it in the Cauvery River as part of the tradition.
As soon as the procession reached Jamia Masjid, scores of devotees carrying saffron flags created a ruckus trying to move past the police barricades.
Videos of saffron-clad men dancing and raising slogans like, “We swear at the feet of Lord Hanuman to build the mandir (temple) right there.” and “Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, Hanuman Mandir in Srirangapatna!” surfaced on Twitter.
Amidst this, a young Hindu devotee climbed atop a house owned by a Muslim family where a green flag was erected and replaced with the saffron flag amidst chants of “Jai Sri Ram“.
On Sunday, the superintendent of police, Mandya district, Yatish N told reporters that tight security has been arranged to avoid any kind of law and order disruption.
“Due to the sensitivity of the issue, tight police security has been arranged across Srirangapatna town. We have installed CCTV cameras in sensitive areas and liquor sales have been banned as a precautionary measure,” the SP said.
Constant demand to demolish mosque
In January this year, Rishi Kumar, who heads the Kali Mutt in Chikkamagaluru demanded the masjid be demolished and a temple replaced. His controversial statement resulted in his police arrest.
In June 2022, members of right-wing groups gathered at Kirangur Junction to march to the Jamia Masjid claiming it stands on the ruins of a Hanuman temple. The group members demanded to perform puja there.
In May this year, Hindutva elements filed a memorandum with the deputy commissioner of Mandya seeking permission for Hindus to offer prayers at the mosque.
The Hindu Jagarana Vedike has repeatedly sought permission to construct the Moodalabagilu Hanuman Temple in place of the existing Jamia Masjid.
The Jamia Masjid was built by the Mysuru leader Tipu Sultan in 1782. It is a heritage site maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
(With ANI inputs)