'Lingayats have right to seek independent religious status'

Condemning the opposition expressed by BJP National President Amit Shah to the ongoing struggle of Lingayats seeking independent religious status, District In-charge Minister Vinay Kulkarni, who has been recently appointed as president of the Rashtriya Basava Sena, lashed out at Mr Shah stating that, “Who is Amit Shah to oppose the fight of Lingayats? Being a Jain, which has been accorded independent religious tag, he (Mr Shah) should not oppose the struggle to get separate religion status for Lingayatism, he added.

He fumed at the BJP Lingayat leaders for not taking part in this struggle, and said, Lingayats have equal rights to get a separate religion tag like Jainism, and will not step back until this demand is fulfilled.

He noted this while speaking after inaugurating the ‘Chintana Sabhe’ held at Lingaraj Nagar community hall in Hubballi on Sunday, as part of Vishwa Lingayat Mahasabha, which is scheduled to be held in Hubballi on November 5.

“We (the leaders spearheading struggle) are not indulged in dividing the society and create trenches between castes, but, we feel proud that we are fighting to bring together various other castes under one umbrella called Lingayatism,” he noted.

“There is neither any political agenda behind this struggle, nor a political gimmick for the upcoming elections. All the political leaders, cutting across party affiliations, are unitedly struggling to get separate religion status. This is purely a struggle of all Lingayats,” he asserted.

Recalling the objectives of establishing the Viraktmutt’s, Minister Vinay stated that the aims of these mutts have been to publicise and bring into practice the principles of Basavanna.“If the seers of Viraktmutts are not interested to spread the ideologies of Basavanna, then there is no need of such seers. They can stay away,’ he added.

He called upon all Lingayats to be determined as this struggle is not going to stop, until the government accords separate religion status, Mr Vinay said.

Seer in dilemma
Speaking on the occasion, Sri Gurusiddha Rajayogendra Swamiji of Moorusavirmutt said, he was still in a dilemma on whether to support Veerashaiva’s or Lingayats.

To support his remark, the seer said, he was basically from Shiva Yoga Mandir at Badami taluk, which is established by Hanagal Kumaraswamiji, who is opposing the separate religion status for Lingayats.

“However, in virtual view, both Veerashaivas and Lingayats are unique. If the struggle to get religion tag is for the overall development of Lingayats, then my support is there to get constitutional religion tag for Lingayatism,” he said.

‘Reday to approach SC’
Chairing the meeting, MLC Basavaraj Horatti stated that all the Lingayat Mahasabha leaders are ready to approach the Supreme Court, if they are deprived of getting separate religion tag.

On November 4, once again, the discussions will be held with Akhila Bharath Veerashaiva Mahasabha (ABVM) regarding their decision of joining hands with Lingayats in this struggle. “If they are ready, we will welcome them, or else the struggle will still continue,” he stressed.

Mallikarjun Swamiji of Murugamutt, MLA Prasad Abbayya, Mahadev Horatti, former MLC Veeranna Mattikatti, B C Patil, KMF President Neelakanth Asooti, Mohan Nucchi, and others also spoke on occasion.

Vishwa Lingayat Mahasabha National President Sanjay Makal and thinker Ramzan Darga delivered special lectures on Basava principles.
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