HUBBALLI: Differences between Lingayats and Veerashaivas deepened further ahead of rallies planned by them on December 10 (Vijayapura) and December 24 (Gadag) respectively over the alleged involvement of mines and geology minister Vinay Kulkarni in the murder of local body member, Yogesh Gouda, with supporters of the minister being accused of attempting to the divert the attention of investigators in the murder case.
While Lingayat leaders have decided to stage protests outside the residence of MP Pralhad Joshi for allegedly attempting to counter the agitation for separate religion tag for their community, Veerashaivas contended that such protests were an attempt to shift the focus away from the murder of Mr Gouda. They plan to submit a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind and Governor Vaju Bhai Vala seeking a probe by the CBI into Mr Gouda’s murder as the state’s investigation agency would not be able to inquire into the minister’s alleged role in the murder.
The slain ZP member, Mr Yogesh Gouda, hails from Panchamasali sect of Lingayat community, to which Mr Vinay Kulkarni belongs, Veerashaivas deny the charges of hatching conspiracy against the minister in murder case to suppress the Lingayat movement for minority status. Veerashaiva leaders also claim that Lingayats are targeting Mr Pralhad Joshi as their movement has suffered setback after controversial statements by Jaya Mrithyunjaya Swamiji of Kudal Sangama and cases lodged against him. “Lingayat leaders are staging a protest against Mr Pralhad Joshi as he is a Brahmin and not against Lingayat leader Jagadish Shettar as they cannot mobilise protesters from their own community. Let them hold protest against the minister as well demand speedy probe. We are ready to take part in their protest. We will conduct meeting of Veerashaiva leaders to chalk out the strategy against Lingayats and minister Vinay Kulkarni in murder case before our our mega rally in Gadag”, says Mahantesh Girimath, president, Veerashaiva Sanghatana Samiti.
Stating that highest priority was given to Lingayats when the BJP government was in office in Karnataka, Veerashaivas said an awareness campaign would be launched against the plan to mislead people of the community and to protect the minister in the murder case.