Lingayat forum fears violence by Veerashaivas during polls

Fearing "violence" by the Veerashaiva camp, the Jagathika Lingayat Mahasabha (JLM) on Friday urged the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the Union and the state governments to take precautionary measures to curb any untoward incidents during the Assembly elections.

 

Addressing the reporters here, JLM general secretary and retired IAS officer S M Jamdar said that a section of Veerashaiva seers and leaders had been making provocative statements and unsavoury remarks against the Lingayat community leaders.

 

He claimed that the Lingayat leaders, including himself had received "direct" or "indirect" threats from certain 'panchapeetha' seers. Such provocations might be a precursor to violence during the elections, he said.

"There is every indication that there might be violence during the Assembly elections -- such an atmosphere has been created. Shreeshaila Peeta seer Channa Siddarama Panditaradhya Shivacharya swami has branded the Lingayat leaders as Pakistani agents -- that we are traitors. What evidence does he have that we are traitors? He has defamed us," he said, playing a video of the event in Vijayapura, where the swami is seen making the remarks.

Jamdar also said that the Rambhapuri seer Prasanna Veera Someshwara swami had made a personal attack against him. "He has said that I have made baseless statements during the earlier press conference. But, as a citizen and as a Lingayat, can I not question the seer? I have merely stated the fact that the seer adorns kilos of gold ornaments. If I'm wrong, he is free to move the court against me. I will reveal more details about him in the court. But, he should stop defaming me," he added.

He also said certain Veerashaiva leaders had threatened to hang Water Resources Minister M B Patil for championing the Lingayat-minority status movement. "Somebody else has said that the Lingayat movement leaders should be mutilated. The Veerashaiva camp is also publishing baseless articles against Patil, Mines and Geology Minister Vinay Kulkarni and me. The effort is to alienate us from the Lingayat community," he said.

Jamdar urged BJP president Amit Shah, who is presently touring Karnataka, to clarify the Centre's stand on Karnataka's proposal for according minority status to Lingayats. He said that Shah shouldn't restrict himself to merely visiting the Lingayat mutts. He should make an effort to understand the truth and reality of the Lingayat heritage.

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