Seers protest in Hubballi against denial of permission for meeting

Though they had applied for permission, it had neither been granted, nor rejected

Updated - May 05, 2024 01:53 am IST

Published - May 04, 2024 10:14 pm IST - HUBBALLI

Heads of various mutts led by Fakira Dingaleshwar Swami taking out a protest march in Hubballi on Saturday after their meeting was prevented by poll authorities for lack of permission. The meeting was allowed after the protest.

Heads of various mutts led by Fakira Dingaleshwar Swami taking out a protest march in Hubballi on Saturday after their meeting was prevented by poll authorities for lack of permission. The meeting was allowed after the protest. | Photo Credit: KIRAN BAKALE

Rambhapuri Kalyanamantapa at Vidyangar in Hubballi witnessed high drama on Saturday after officials from Election Commission and police stopped a meeting of religious heads from various mutts headed by Fakira Dingaleshwar Swami resulting in many seers taking out a protest march condemning the action.

Fakira Dingaleshwar Swami, who is openly campaigning against Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, had convened a meeting at the marriage hall and had also sought permission from the requisite authorities for the same on Friday.

However, when they began the meeting on Saturday, officials from the Election Commission of India entered the hall and sought to know whether they had received the permission letter to which the seers replied in the negative. Dingaleshwar Swami told the officials that although they had applied for permission, it had not been granted, nor had it been rejected. He said the officials had only delayed it.

However, when the officials told them that they could not allow the meeting to happen without permission, the seers, upset with the development, decided to take out a protest march. From Vidyanagar, scores of seers led by Fakira Dingaleshwar Swami and others marched to Kittur Chennamma Circle and then to municipal corporation premises, where they staged a demonstration.

On the Municipal Corporation premises, there was discussion over the issue for almost half an hour and the seers insisted that the Municipal Commissioner should come to the spot to clarify why permission had not been given. They also demanded that the police inspector Dharegouda Patil, who reportedly said that he would be forced to arrest the seers if the meeting continued, should apologise for his words.

Ultimately, Municipal Commissioner Ishwar Ullagadi came to the spot to clarify that as in the application for permission it was mentioned as a political meeting, they had not given it since a religious place was at the same premises. He clarified that the officials had done their job and they would permit them to hold a non-political meeting.

The seers, who were not satisfied with the clarification, demanded an apology from the police inspector because of whom they were forced to stage a protest. However, after Deputy Commissioner of Police P. Rajiv said that he would apologise if the development had hurt them and requested them to hold a non-political meeting, the seers withdrew their protest.

Speaking to presspersons, Fakira Dingaleshwar Swami alleged that Mr. Joshi, who was afraid of the outcome of the seers’ meeting had tried to stop them through the Election Commission. He alleged that there was ‘divide and rule’ like Britishers in Municipal Corporation also and that EC officials and police were acting at the behest of Mr. Joshi. He said that his ‘holy war’ against Mr. Joshi would continue to get him defeated in the election.

Subsequently, the seers returned to the venue and held their meeting on socio-religious issues concerning the Veerashaiva Lingayat community. They passed various resolutions including protecting the community against those who try to suppress and work for spreading the message of Basavanna.

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