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Karnataka: Omkareshwara Temple priest who said he had converted to Islam retracts, returns to Hinduism after undertaking “purification”

The move came a day after he had issued an advertisement on Friday last week saying that he was converting to Islam, sending senior political leaders and seers into a tizzy. On Saturday, the priest retracted his statement and affirmed that he will continue to remain a Hindu. 

HR Chandrashekaraiah, the priest at Omkareshwara Temple in Hirehalli village, 60 KM from Bengaluru, has recanted from his earlier stance where he said he had willingly converted to Islam.

The move came a day after he had issued an advertisement on Friday last week saying that he was converting to Islam, sending senior political leaders and seers into a tizzy. On Saturday, two days after he announced embracing Islam, the priest retracted his statement and affirmed that he will continue to remain a Hindu. 

On Friday last week, Chandrashekaraiah announced converting to Islam through a notification in a local daily, citing personal problems as the reason for his conversion. The priest said he had been rechristened Mubarak Pasha and photographs of him wearing a skull cap and praying in a masjid soon went viral on the internet. 

Speaking to the Times of India about what spurred him toward conversion, Chandrashekaraiah’s friend Rudra Aradhya said, “He was distraught with his two younger brothers following a dispute over the priesthood of the temple as well as property matters.”

Aradhya said Chandrashekaraih’s brothers had asked the priest to give them the priesthood for some years and he did so four years ago. However, now Chandrashekaraiah’s nephew is the priest. He wanted to teach his brothers a lesson, who had taken away his priesthood of the temple built by his father, Aradhya said. 

Nevertheless, the news of a Hindu priest converting to Islam sent shockwaves in the political circles, with many leaders reacting and weighing in on the development. Following the news, BJP leader and former minister Sogadu Shivanna met the priest at his house in Hirehalli and tried to persuade him to withdraw his stand. 

After having long discussions with Shivanna, Chandrashekaraiah said, “I liked the special way in which Muslims conduct funerals, and hence wanted to become a Muslim. I had given the notification to a local newspaper, but I have not converted to Islam.”

“I am a Hindu and will remain a Hindu,” the Omkareshwara Temple priest said. When asked about the pictures in which he was seen wearing a skull cap and scarf in front of a mosque, the Hindu seer said, “I had gone to attend the inauguration of a new masjid at Thovinakere.”

Shivanna reportedly counselled him and requested him to reconsider his decision, following which he took him to Vyasaraja Matha in Tumakuru to purify him. “Sogadu Shivanna had discussions with and took me to a seer to purify me. I will once again take the Lingayat ‘deekshe’,” the Omkareshwara temple priest said.

Talking to the media, Shivanna said the matter was an internal family dispute as Chandrashekaraiah was upset with the conflicts over priesthood and property with his siblings.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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