The infighting in the Lingayat community has taken a new turn. To counter the massive rally conducted by a faction of the Lingayat seers in Belagavi, over 50 Veerashaiva-Lingayat seers came together on Wednesday in Bengaluru and demanded a 12-15% reservation for the community.
Pontiffs representing the influential Pancha Peeta Mutts as well as several other independent mutts of the Basavadisharana tradition had gathered under the banner of Veerashaiva-Lingayat Coordination Committee at a convention hall in Vijayanagar.
The delegation met Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at his home office and submitted a memorandum. They demanded that Veerashaiva-Lingatyats are Hindus and need not be granted a separate religion status.
Prasanna Renuka Veera Someshwara Swami of the Rambhapuri Mutt, Channa Siddarama Panditaradhya Swami from Srishaila Peeta, Siddalinga Raja Deshikendra Swami from Ujjain and Chandrashekhar Shivacharya Swami from the Kashi Peeta, were among the participants at the meet.
The chief minister already has two representations â€” one to declare Lingayat as an independent religion and another not to declare Veerashaiva-Lingayat as a separate religion. The row has created a rift within the ruling Congress, with leaders taking opposite sides.
â€śThere are several subsects under Veerashaiva-Lingayat. They are presently under the 3B category with a 5% reservation. Instead, they should be classified under 2A or a new category altogether with a reservation of 12-15% proportional to the population of Veerashaiva-Lingayats,â€ť was one of the resolutions made at the meeting.
The Veerashaiva-Lingayat seers also resolved to support the Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabhaâ€™s stand that Veerashaivas and Lingayats are one and the same.
â€śVeerashaiva-Lingayat is one and the same. There is no provision under the Constitution to declare one sect under this religion as a religion in itself,â€ť it was decided, with reference to the counter demand for Lingayat to be declared as an independent religion.
The convention also resolved to urge the government to set up free hostel facilities in every taluk and district for poor Veerashaiva-Lingayat students.
It also decided to ask the government to provide merit scholarships and set up civil service training centres for students of the community.
â€śThere are some who call themselves Virakta Mutts but are being influenced by political elements and thirst for power. There are some in the community who are mixing religion with politics. That should never happen. Veerashaivas and Lingayats are one and the same. We are a sub sect of Hindus and are not demanding a separate religion but adequate representation for our people,â€ť said Parameshivayya, a Veerashaiva-Lingayat leader at the meeting.