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Devotees refuse to participate in coronation ceremony

By Our Staff Correspondent

BAGALKOT, SEPT. 9. The conciliation meeting with devotees who are opposing the enthronement of Siddharama Swami as the successor to Mahantha Swamiji of Chittargi Vijayamahantha Math of Ilkal ended inconclusively on Wednesday.

However, according to sources, the group, which had earlier declared that it would not allow the enthronement programme scheduled on September 12, has toned down its stand.

The senior Congress leader and MLC S.R. Patil, who had been entrusted with the responsibility of persuading the opponent group to agree to the programme, was somewhat successful in his mission, sources said. However, the leaders, especially those from Chittargi and other villages in Hungund taluk, who participated in the meeting, reportedly made it clear that they would not participate in the installation ceremony.

They said they could not think of participating when over 180 devotees had been arrested after violence erupted during the procession in Ilkal last week. The seer and his men had allegedly singled out those opposed to the installation ceremony and falsely implicated them though they were not present during the incidents. According to sources, the devotees said that until all those arrested were out of jail and cases against them were withdrawn, they would not participate in the ritual.

Mahantha Swamiji, who visited the Bellary Jail to meet the arrested persons, returned to Ilkal on Wednesday afternoon. According to sources, most of the arrested persons chose not to meet him.

However, one of their leaders, Basaiah Hiremath, met him and conveyed their disenchantment about his conduct during the violence.

If the seer was really concerned about his own devotees, he would not have lodged complaints against them, he reportedly told the seer.


Our Bidar Staff Correspondent reports:

Several Veerashaiva organisations in the district have condemned the assault on Mahantha Swamiji by those who apparently did not like his move to nominate a person belonging to the Scheduled Castes as his successor.

In a recent meeting, the Vishwa Basava Dharma Mahasabha passed a unanimous resolution urging the Government to take immediate legal action against the assailants. The meeting felt that the nominee, Siddharama Swamiji, was a learned man of high integrity and fit to head the Math.

The meeting also recalled Basaveshwara's call to judge a man by his character and not his caste.

The district president of the mahasabha, Siddaiah Kavadimath; the vice-president, Kashappa Dhannur; the central unit general secretary, Basavakumar Patil; the district unit general secretary, Channabasava Hangaragi; and senior leader, Basavaraj Gaitond, attended the meeting.

The Anubhava Mantapa Trust of Basavakalyan has termed the act "inhuman."

The convenor of the trust, V. Siddaramanna, has urged the Government to take legal action against those who were opposed to the installation of Siddharama Swamiji.

Mr. Siddaramanna has called upon all devotees of the Math to extend support to the swamiji to go ahead with the installation ceremony.

The senior swamiji's choice was perfectly in tune with the philosophy of Basaveshwara, he added.

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