Lingayat row: Decision on expert panel deferred

A meeting between Veerashaiva and Lingayat leaders held on Wednesday on the formation of a committee to determine a common ground, remained inconclusive as both the camps failed to iron out differences.

The Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha wants Veerashaiva-Lingayat to become a religion, whereas the Lingayat camp argues that Lingayat is a religion in itself with Veerashaiva being a sub-sect.

Leaders from both the camps met at the residence of Mahasabha president Shamanur Shivashankarappa, where both stuck to their stands. Also, no concrete decision was taken on the formation of an expert committee that will determine a common ground on which the demand for a separate religion will be made.

The leaders decided to meet again on October 10 as Lingayat leaders wanted retired IAS officer SM Jaamdar, who has been hospitalized, to join the talks.

Earlier in the day, the Lingayat camp trained its guns on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP’s ideological parent, accusing its leaders of trying to sabotage the movement for a separate religion tag for the Lingayat faith.

Water Resources Minister M B Patil, Mines and Geology Minister Vinay Kulkarni and JD(S) leader Basavaraj Horatti in unison called for a boycott of the RSS. “We appeal to Lingayat youths that if they have any self-respect, they must quit the RSS,” Patil told reporters.

“The RSS has no business poking its nose in the Lingayat religion movement. Ramanna has insulted the entire Lingayat community, including holy seers. If Ramanna and the RSS leadership do not tender an apology, there will be widespread protests in front of all RSS offices across the state,” Patil warned.

The call for Lingayat swayamsevaks to quit the RSS could deal a blow to the BJP, which depends heavily on its Lingayat vote base. Patil, however, denied any political move behind targetting the RSS.
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