Sigandur temple row now takes a caste turn

The Shivamogga Deputy Commissioner’s order appointing committees to look after the administration of Sigandur Chowdeshwari Temple has not gone down well with leaders of the Arya Idiga community and the Brahma Shree Narayanaguru Dharma Paripalana Parishat (BSNDP), an organisation of the Idiga/Billava communities.

With this, the controversy that began with differences between trustees of the temple and the priest has taken a caste turn.

Leaders of the Arya Idiga community have come out openly in support of S. Ramappa, a trustee.

The BSNDP had earlier given a call for a Sigandur Chalo with a demand to remove Sheshagiri Bhat, the priest. The protest rally, earlier scheduled for October 29, has been postponed.

The differences between the trustees and the priest hit the headlines when the temples were ready to invite devotees back after the COVID-19 lockdown was relaxed.

There had been heated arguments between the two camps over the temple responsibilities. While the priest’s camp alleged that the trustees were not allowing them to perform their duties on the temple premises, the trustees’ faction defended that they were following strict COVID-19 guidelines.

The incidents took an ugly turn when a person, said to be a supporter of Mr. Ramappa, was assaulted on the premises by a brother of Mr. Bhat on October 16.

Following the instruction from the Chief Minister, Shivamogga DC K.B. Shivakumar visited the temple and on October 23 issued an order constituting two committees.

The constitution of committees has been viewed by the Idiga/Billava community as an attempt by the government to take over the temple belonged to their community.

Kattigehalla Raghupathi, leader of the community, in a press conference in Shivamogga, recently said that the DC had constituted the committees without hearing the trustees. The office-bearers of BSNDP also held a press conference and said that the organisation would oppose any attempt by the government to take over the temple.

Chief Minister B.S.Yediyurappa during his visit to Shivamogga earlier this week said the government constituted committees only to avoid the mismanagement of funds.

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Printable version | Nov 25, 2020 11:05:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/sigandur-temple-row-now-takes-a-caste-turn/article32967190.ece

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