Bengaluru: Asserting that Veerashaiva Lingayats were not a part of the Hindu religion, the Akhila Bharatha Veerashaiva Mahasabha on Wednesday resolved to work towards getting a separate religious tag for the community and appealed to pontiffs not to make public statements on the issue till a meeting of experts was held to find a solution to the current crisis.
The Mahasabha passed the resolution at a meeting attended by former Minister and sabha president, Shamanur Shivashankarappa, its senior vice president, N Tippanna, and secretary general, Eshwar Khandre, here on Wednesday. In a joint press release, the three men pointed out that the community did rituals like shatsthala, panchachara and ashtavarana, which were different from those performed by other religions. Noting that even performing a puja to the linga placed on the palm was propagated by Lingayats and Sharanaru, they said the sabha had first appealed to the community several years ago to register as Veerashaiva Lingayats in the national census.
"A delegation met the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Home Minister, L K Advani to accord a separate religious status to Veerashaiva Lingayats. At that time no one protested. Recently, when the sabha organised a function to felicitate Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for making it mandatory to display the photograph of 12th century reformer Basavanna in all government offices, and for renaming the Karnataka Women's University after another social reformer, Akkamahadevi, it presented a memorandum to him to declare Veerashaiva Lingayats as a separate religious community. And responding to it, Mr Siddaramaiah promised to forward the proposal to the Union government with the state's recommendation. Most of the leaders, pontiffs, legislators and ministers were present on the dais. Now the community leaders are making contradictory statements on the issue," they regretted.
The issue of a separate religious tag has sparked protests among pontiffs of different Veerashaiva-Lingayat mutts, who don't see to eye to eye on it. Several ministers too are reportedly unhappy with the matter being raised with the Assembly polls due in the next eight to 10 months in the state....