Religion tag: Take a call soon, Lingayat leaders urge CM

Religion tag: Take a call soon, Lingayat leaders urge CM
A group of 20 Lingayat legislators and writers on Thursday petitioned Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to take an early call  on asking the Centre to accord religion status to Lingayat community.

Led by Water Resources Minister M B Patil, the group met the chief minister at a private resort and reiterated their demand for being declared a separate religion. Mines and Geology Minister Vinay Kulkarni, Ramdurg MLA Ashok M Pattan, Aland MLA B R Patil, among others, were present. “We told the chief minister he cannot sit on this issue and must take a call soon,” senior JD(S) leader Basavaraj Horatti said.

Patil, Kulkarni and Horatti belong to the camp that wants Lingayats to be declared a minority religion on the lines of Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism. The opposing Veerashaiva camp comprising senior Congress leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa, his son and Horticulture minister S S Mallikarjun and Municipal Administration minister Eshwar B Khandre contend that Veerashaivas and Lingayats are the same grouping and must be accorded Veerashaiva-Lingayat religion tag.

So far, Siddaramaiah has received three representations on the separate religion demand — one from the Veerashaiva Mahasabha, from the Lingayat group and from the Lingayat spiritual leader Mathe Mahadevi. “The CM assured us a decision soon. That will help us chart the next course of our movement,” Horatti said.

Shamanur challenged

Seer Jayamruthyunjaya Swami of Kudalsangama on Thursday challenged Akhila Bharatha Veerashaiva Mahasabha president Shamanur Shivashankarappa to prove the charge levelled against him or resign from his post.

He was speaking at a meeting held at Tontadarya Kalyana Mantapa in Gadag in view of the Lingayats’ convention scheduled to be held in Hubballi on November 5. The seer said Shivashankarappa has charged that Ministers M B Patil and Vinay Kulkarni have given him Rs 56 lakh and a car and, challenged him to prove the charge.

He said the seers, who are in the forefront of the movement seeking a separate religion tag for Lingayat faith, are working only for the cause.

“If we are lured, the next generations will not forgive us. This is our own struggle. Akhila Bharatha Lingayat Mahasabha should be announced in the Hubballi convention. We should prove that Lingayats are roaring tigers,” he said.

Bailur Nishkalmasha Mantapa seer Nijagunaprabhu Swamiji expressed suspicion that Shivashankarappa might have sold the Mahasabha and he has become a puppet in the hands of Panchacharyas.

Tontadarya Mutt Siddalinga Swami said eminent people should not stoop to low level.

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