In an attempt to further up the ante on their demand for a separate religion status, leaders from the Lingayat community in Karnataka have said that they are planning to float an all-India front, which will be an umbrella body of all Lingayat outfits in the country. A final decision on this will be taken after the Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha meeting scheduled on August 10 in Bengaluru, reports The Hindu.
At a press conference in Kalaburgi, leaders said that while the Mahasabha still considers Lingayats and Veerashaivas as the same, they donâ€™t agree. â€śWe hold that Veerashaiva and Lingayat as different and hence demand independent status for the Lingayat community. A meeting of leaders representing both will be convened in Bengaluru on August 10. If the Veerashaiva Mahasabha continues to adhere to its stand, we will begin to float an Akhila Bharata Linghayat Mahasabha bringing all Lingayat organisations and religious institutions together,â€ť Sanjay Makal, a Lingayat leader, said during the press conference, according to The Hindu.
â€śVeerashaiva upholds and practises the principles advocated by the vedas, aagamas, shastras, puranas and other texts that are part of Hindu religion. Based on this, earlier applications for religion tag to Veerashaiva/Lingayat were rejected outright. If we demand independent religion status to Lingayat alone, we will be successful as the demand has solid material base,â€ť he added.
The Lingayat versus Veerashaiva feud has taken several complicated turns over the past few weeks. Recently, the Lingayat Mahasabha filed a defamation complaint against the Rambhapuri pontiff.
Rambhapuri pontiff, the head of the Veerashaiva math based out of Chikamagaluru, had taken a stand that Veershaivas and Lingayats are the same.
Lingayat Mahasabha State President, Sharana Chandramouli, on August 2, filed a complaint against the Rambhapuri pontiff Jagadguru Prasannarenuka Veera Someshwara Rajadeshikendra Shivacharya Mahaswamiji, for allegedly making defamatory statements against Mate Mahadevi.
Mate Mahadevi is the head of the Lingayat mutt Basava Dharma Peetha.
According to Chandramouli, the Rambhapuri pontiff, had issued a statement stating that Mate Mahadevi had, in 1962, written a love letter to Lingananda Swami.
Lingananda Swami was the religious head who initiated Mate Mahadevi into the mutt.
Following the Rambhapuri seerâ€™s statement, on July 30, followers of Mate Mahadevi shouted slogans against the Rambhapuri seer asking him to tender an unconditional apology to the woman seer.
They also condemned the Rambhapuri pontiff for indulging in luxuries and burnt an effigy of him sitting on a palanquin.
Reacting strongly to this development, thousands of followers of the Rambhapuri seer from Gadag, Dharwad and Bidar staged a protest in Hubballi on August 1. They too burnt an effigy of Mate Mahadevi.