Karnataka

Lingayat issue: Sangh Parivar ‘conspiracy’ alleged

The group advocating a separate religion tag for Lingayat community on Thursday alleged that the Sangh Parivar had “conspired and succeeded” in getting the seer of Siddhaganga Mutt in Tumakuru, Shivakumara Swami -- one of the most respected seers of the community -- to change his stand with regard to extending support to the group.

“While we do not question the authority and supremacy of the seer as it is his discretion to change or modify his stand, this is a conspiracy by the Sangh Parivar. Prior to the developments, a politician had said in the media to wait for two days and see. We do not know if he meant this,” the group members said at a press conference here.

The members, including Mines and Geology Minister Vinay Kulkarni, legislators B.R. Patil, Basvaraj Horatti and former IAS official S.M. Jaamdar, were unanimous in expressing solidarity with Water Resources Minister M.B. Patil, who had met the seer on September 10 and stated that Dr. Shivakumara Swami had extended support to the Lingayat cause.

This was subsequently denied by the mutt authorities, who released a statement a day later claiming that the seer had asked the two groups - Lingayat and Veerashaiva Lingayat - to come together. On the same day, another statement was released that said the Minister had ‘twisted’ the seer’s statement. This resulted in theVeerashaiva Lingayat group and some politicians alleging that the Minister had lied.

Dismissing these allegations, Mr. Jaamdar said: “It is true that the seer had expressed his support to Mr. Patil. However, this has been denied by the mutt. Some vested interests are trying to tarnish the image of Mr. Patil by misleading and misusing the seer’s name.”

Asserting that the group would continue its movement seeking a separate Lingayat religion, he said: “We are discussing the issue with the other group to arrive at a consensus. It is good if they agree. Otherwise, we go our way and they, theirs.”

He said the struggle for a separate Lingayat tag was not keeping the elections in mind. “The allegations have deeply hurt Mr. Patil, who stands by his statement,” he said.

When some reporters pointed out that the group that advocated for Veerashaiva-Lingayat also had some Congress members and whether they also belonged to the Sangh Parivar, he said: “We do not want to politicise the issue.”

‘Not the administrative officer’

Administrative officer of Siddaganga Mutt S.Vishwanathaiah has clarified that Shivakumar was not the administrative officer of the mutt as claimed by Minister M.B.Patil.

Speaking to The Hindu , Mr.Vishwanathaiah said that Mr. Shivakumar was a group-D employee of Siddaganga Institute of Technology. He was a technical helper and not authorised to speak or give any statement on behalf of the mutt. “If Mr. Shivakumar has spoken, it is his personal opinion,” he said.

Responding to allegations made by Mr. Patil that the seer Dr. Shivakumara Swami had earlier supported him and later changed stance on the Veerashaiva-Lingayat issue because of leaders of RSS and Bharatiya Janata Party, Mr.Vishwanathaiah said that leaders from neither RSS nor BJP had visited the mutt.

Protest

Tumakuru residents, including alumni and devotees of the Siddaganga Mutt, staged a protest and formed a human chain at Town Hall Circle in Tumakuru on Thursday, condemning the statement of Maathe Mahadevi against Dr. Shivakumara Swami.

The agitators demanded that Maathe Mahadevi apologize by falling at the seer’s feet for claiming that he, lured by the promise of Bharat Ratna, had stated that Veerashaiva and Lingayat were the same. They also demanded the resignation of Mr. Patil for dragging the seer into the politicisation of the issue.

Meanwhile, the district unit of the BJP has expressed regrets over the statement of Maathe Mahadevi statements.


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Printable version | Oct 1, 2022 3:23:31 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/lingayat-issue-sangh-parivar-conspiracy-alleged/article19684265.ece