In the last few weeks, Karnataka has witnessed a massive movement for a separate Lingayat religion with opposition from various quarters, within and outside the community. Siddalinga Swami from Gadag's Tontadarya Mutt, Shivamurthy Murugha Sharana from Chitradurga, Mahanta Swamiji from Ilkal Chittaragi Mutt, Basavalinga Swamiji from Balki, Basava Jaya Mrutyunjaya Swamiji from Kudalasangama Panchamasali Peetha and Siddharamaiah Mahaswamiji from Naganur Rudrashi Mutt are prominent among the influential Mutts who were present at the meeting.
The meeting, which began at 10.30am, concluded with the members penning down a resolution regarding the demand for a separate Lingayat religion.
Siddaramaiah told reporters here that an independent religion tag for Lingayat is not the government's stand. "Depending on the review, we will let the community know of the government's decision", said Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
The Lingayat Mahasabha, after 5-hours of deliberations, chose to adopt a resolution recognising 12th century philosopher and social reformer Basaveshwara as the founder of Lingayat dharma and Vachanas as the religious texts of the religion. It will then be sent to the Centre, asking it to give separate religion and minority status.
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Resolution for special status At the end of the day-long meet, the conclave passed a unanimous resolution to take their campaign forward, seeking separate religion and minority status for Lingayats, and rename All India Veerashaiva-Lingayat Mahasabha as the All India Lingayat Mahasabha. Without separate religion status, we can not be accorded minority status.
Some prominent seers, including those of Suttur Mutt and Siddaganga Mutt, however, were not present at the meeting.
These seers had strongly rejected the idea of a separate religion and had claimed that the Lingayats and Hindus are the same. He argued that according to five Census exercises from 1881 to 1931, Veerashaiva was a sub-sect of Lingayat community. In 2013, during the UPA regime, the appeal to the Central government had also rejected the Mahasabha's appeal.
Lingayat religion, its philosophy and Vachanas should not be used under the nomenclature of "Veerashaiva". "We are demanding a separate religion and not caste", said Jamdar.