A religious meet convened on Tuesday in Nashik to lay to rest a controversy on the birthplace of monkey-god Hanuman had to be deferred due to altercations between participating sadhus, with police having to intervene to restore peace and order.
The 'dharmasabha' was called after spiritual leader Kishkindha Mathadhipati Swami Govindanand Saraswati recently claimed Kishkindha (believed to be in latter day Hampi area in Karnataka) was the birthplace of Hanuman and not Anjneri in Nashik as is widely believed.
He had challenged those not in agreement with him to present proof, after which sadhu-mahants from here decided to convene a religious meet.
However, the plan by Govindanand Saraswati to arrive in Anjneri from Trimbakeshwar leading a procession was opposed by the former's residents and sadhus who believed this could vitiate the atmosphere.
Officials said people had blocked the Nashik-Trimbakeshwar road on Monday to register their protest on the arrival of Govindanand Saraswati.
On Tuesday, the 'dharmasabha' started off on a heated note first over seating arrangements, and then on other issues, including taunts aimed at each other, they said.
When one spiritual leader was introducing himself, Mahant Sudhirdas of Lord Kalaram temple here reportedly called him a "Congressi", leading to verbal clashes between two groups, resulting in Mahant Sudhirdas raising a mike stand threateningly.
Meanwhile, followers of Govindanand Saraswati claimed he was not allowed to place his views at the meet, leading to further verbal clashes that threatened to spiral out of control, which forced the police to intervene to restore normalcy, some participants said.
Among those who attended were Kailas Swami Mutt's Swami Samvidanand Saraswati, Shauche Guruji, Purohit Sangh president Satish Shukla.
Several sadhus confirmed the 'dharmasabha' has been deferred and a fresh date would be announced later.