Row over third Panchamasali peetha

Attempts by some people to create a third peetha in Jamkhandi, a religious centre for the State’s Panchamsali Lingayats, seem to have ruffled some feathers among the community. The two current peethas are in Kudalasangama and Harihar.

Sri Basava Jaya Mrutyunjay Swami, seer of the Panchamasali Peetha at Kudalasangama, has accused Minister Murugesh Nirani of trying to divide the community, to achieve his personal political ambitions.

Mr. Nirani dreams of becoming the Chief Minister. That is why he is dividing the community by creating the third peetha, the seer said in a recent media conference in Bengaluru.

The seer said that Mr. Nirani was upset with him as he did not lobby with the BJP leadership for being appointed as the Chief Minister, after the exit of B.S. Yeddiyurappa. The seer said that except for Basanagouda Patil Yatnal and Vijayananda Kasheppanavar, a few other political leaders sided with him when he led a padayatra for re-categorisation of the community among the backward classes.

The seer also threatened to lead a movement against the third peetha if Mr. Nirani went ahead with establishing it.

A former MLA, Mr. Kasheppanavar has also opposed the idea. “This is not a religious move It is a political move by Mr. Nirani who is blinded by his ambition,’’ Mr. Kasheppanavar said in Bagalkot on Saturday.

Responding to this, Sri Vachananda Swami of Panchamasali Peetha in Harihar said he is supporting Mr. Nirani’s move. “The Panchamasali community is the largest block among Lingayats. It needs a third seat of spiritual power. It is also facing several challenges, including attempts at conversion by Christians. It needs more religious leaders and not a few,’’ he told journalists in Davangere on Sunday.

“I am in favour of the third peetha. In fact, if the community were to have a peetha and a seer in every district, I will be very happy,’’ he said.

Mr. Nirani has denied the charge. He told journalists in Bagalkot on Saturday that creating the third peetha is aimed at strengthening the community and not dividing it. The seer should not accuse me of trying to divide the community. Instead, he should introspect who is trying to divide the community by demanding religion status for Lingayat, he said. He added that a third peetha is necessary for the all-round development of the community.

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Printable version | May 25, 2022 12:22:52 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/row-over-third-panchamasali-peetha/article38315008.ece