Udupi: Pejawar Mutt pontiff Shri Vishwesha Teertha Swamiji's move to bring about harmony in society by hosting an 'Iftar' at the famous Udupi Krishna Mutt, has annoyed hardcore Hindu leaders and Sangh Parivar leaders in the region and triggered a huge controversy.
But the respected seer has stood firm. While the right-wing Sri Rama Sene founder, Pramod Muthalik has called for a state-wide protest on July 2 against this gesture and Sangh Parivar leaders have conveyed their unhappiness to the seer, the Pejawar pontiff dismissed the criticism, saying he believed in loyalty to his dharma and tolerance for others, and strongly rebuked his critics including Muthalik saying he knew "very well what Hindu Dharma was."
The Swamiji said: "The Mutt has always had a good relationship with Muslims since the time of Madhvacharya. I have been stressing on good relations between communities since 1955. I have not hurt Hindu Dharma."
The Swamiji, one of the founders of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), had organised the Iftar on Saturday night, which was attended by about 150 Muslims including the Khatib of Anjuman Mazjid and senior Congress leader M.A. Gafoor. After the food (fruits and dry fruits) were served to the Muslims at 'Anna Brahma' dining hall in the Krishna Mutt premises, they were allowed to offer Namaz there. This has angered the Sangh Parivar and other saffron outfits. Sri Rama Sene founder Pramod Muthalik who visited the Mutt, expressed his unhappiness over the Iftar.
We are fighting against cow slaughter in the country. But the Swamiji has allowed them to come to the Mutt and offer Namaz. We are not satisfied with his reply, we will hold a protest on July 2," he said. However, the pontiff was firm. "The Iftar will send out a message that Hindus are generous. They did not hold Namaz inside the Mutt but in the dining hall. Muslims had made donations during my Paryaya and also stood by the Mutt when some organisations had declared a Mutt gherao," he declared. Paryaya is a two year puja conducted continuously in Lord Krishna's temple. "Nobody should do anything that will create confusion in society. I am an independent personality. I know very well what is Hindu Dharma," the seer said.
Meanwhile Sangh Parivar sources revealed that they too are unhappy with the Swamiji for organising the Iftar. “He is one of the founders of VHP. He should have consulted saffron leaders before organising such a programme. It would not have been a big issue if he had organised the same event at Rajangana Hall (the hall owned by Krishna Mutt which is provided even to the public for programmes). But the events — Iftar and Namaz — were held at Anna Brahma, which is considered part of the Mutt. This is a wrong move by the seer,” a leader from a saffron outfit, who did not want to be named said.