The iftar hosted inside the ancient Udupi Sri Krishna temple by the head of Pejawar Mutt, Sri Vishvesha Teertha Swamiji, doesn't seem to have gone down well with the rabble-rouser Pramod Muthalik, who heads an outfit called the Sri Ram Sene. Muthalik has called for a state-wide protest in Karnataka on 2 July against the iftar.
On Friday, Sri Vishvesha Teertha Swamiji had hosted a 'Souharda Upahara Koota' (harmony feast), to promote harmony between Hindus and Muslims.
Soon, Muthalik said that the iftar had hurt the sentiments of the Hindu community and inviting those who kill cows and eat beef inside the temple premises was incorrect.
"It's a shameful act," Muthalik reportedly said. "Pejawar seer is not only Swamiji for Udupi but also a leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. While VHP members are fighting to protect every single cow by even sacrificing their lives, the Swamiji has invited cow slaughterers to the Mutt.This is not acceptable."
"Let Swamiji do his friendly overtures, but not in the temple compound," Muthalik added. "What kind of message is he conveying to cow protectors?"
However, Sri Vishvesha Teertha Swamiji defended his decision. "The Mutt has always had a good relationship with Muslims since the time of Madhvacharya," he explained, adding that he himself has been stressing upon good relations between communities since 1955.
"I have not hurt Hindu Dharma," he said.
The historic temple situated in Udupi has been in the news earlier too but for reasons that weren't especially progressive. The temple's age-old practice of 'pankhtibheda', or serving food separately to Brahmins, has been the topic of debate since long.
In October last year, it made headlines for conducting a purification ceremony after a Dalit meeting was held at the temple.
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