The split comes with strong objections of the pontiffs of various mutts of the Veerashaiva and Ligngayat communities.

Lingayats vs Veershaivas Rambhapuri seers followers stage protest against Mate MahadeviYouTube
news Religion Wednesday, August 02, 2017 - 08:34

As the demand for a separate Lingayat religion grows stronger, the rift between the community and Veerashaivas has also widened.

This split comes with strong objections of the pontiffs of various mutts of the Veerashaiva and Ligngayat communities.

Thousands of followers of the Rambhapuri seer, who arrived from Gadag, Haveri, Dharwad and Bagalokot districts, took to the streets of Hubballi on Tuesday and shouted slogans of against “those who were trying to break the unity in the guise of religion”, the Deccan Chronicle reported.

The protest was staged just a day after Water Resource Minister MB Patil’s flip-flop on the issue came to light after the media got wind of a letter he had written to Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha President Shamanur Shivashankarappa on the same issue. 

Protestors also raised slogans against the first woman seer, Mate Mahadevi, for insulting Rambhapuri pontiff after he made controversial remarks against her. 

Angry protestors held booklets of Mate Mahadevi in a 'compromising position' with another seer. They even burnt an effigy of Mate Mahadevi. 

Ever since Mate Mahadevi held the mammoth rally in Bidar and stated that Lingayats and Veerashaivas are different, the woman seer and the Rambhapuri pontiff have been at loggerheads.

This has resulted in protests by their respective followers across the state. 

The protesters warned that they would intensify their agitation if the state government does not recommend for separate religion status under single banner of Veerashaiva-Lingayat within two weeks. 

They said that Veerashaivas and Lingayats are one and the same and that there can be no separation between Veerashaivas and Lingayats like Mate Mahadevi has suggested.

“Our leaders have duped us by trying to divide the community in the name of Veerashaiva and Lingayat. We will ensure that members of our community will cast their votes only for those candidates who support our stand as per directions of Rambhapuri pontiff. A massive convention will be held in Hubballi after consulting the five Veerashaiva Jagadguru Samsthanas of Kashi, Kedar, Srishaila, Balehonnur and Dwaraka. The Veerashaiva flag will be raised in every household of the community,” Prakash Bendigeri, a community leader in Hubballi told the media. 

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.

On Monday, Minister MB Patil's contradictory statements on the issue came to light, which agitated the Rambhapuri pontiff's followers.

As the differences between the heads of various mutts have grown, their followers have threatened to hold protests across the state