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Influential Lingayat Mutt Endorses Separate Religion Recommendation, Says 'Now Waiting for Centre'

The Siddaganga mutt in Tumkur — one of the oldest religious mutts of the community with significant influence on its members — said on Tuesday that it welcomes the recommendation made by the Siddaramaiah government.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:March 20, 2018, 5:35 PM IST
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Influential Lingayat Mutt Endorses Separate Religion Recommendation, Says 'Now Waiting for Centre'
The Lingayat seers meeting Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah.
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Bengaluru: The Karnataka government's proposal to consider Lingayats as a separate religion got a further push on Tuesday when one of the oldest Lingayat mutts in Karnataka endorsed the state government move.

The Siddaganga mutt in Tumkur — one of the oldest religious mutts of the community with significant influence on its members — said on Tuesday that it welcomes the recommendation made by the Siddaramaiah government.

The mutt, headed by 110-year-old Shivakumar Swami, said now it awaits the Centre's decision on the way forward. Shivakumar Swami, who is considered a 'Nadadaduva Devaru' or 'walking god' by many in the Lingayat community for his contributions to the field of education, was even recommended for a Bharat Ratna by the government last year, something which the state BJP had also sought.

Siddalingaswami, the junior pontiff of the Siddaganga Mutt, also welcomed the Cabinet decision as it concerned both the Veerashaivas and Lingayats.

"There has been a campaign to secure this status for the community and the Cabinet has taken a collective decision with a sense of collective responsibility. It is not someone's individual or unilateral decision. We are together in this and will we have to see what the Centre does next, what status it accords to us, whether it will be applicable in education and the job sectors," he told newspersons in Tumkur.

Asked about concerns that the move will divide Hinduism, he said that is not possible.

"It is not possible to break the Hindu dharma. Hinduism is too vast for that. Jainism also stems from Hinduism and partly follows some of the principles of Hinduism but they believe they are a separate entity. Buddhism too was carved out of Hinduism. Similarly, Veerashaivism should also be different from Hinduism.”

“We don't believe in some of the tenets of Hinduism, particularly the Varna system or the discriminatory practices. Hinduism is a vast one, we don't think the Hindu dharma is in peril because of this government decision," he told reporters.

The mutt’s statement comes even as a few other disgruntled Veerashaiva seers met with Congress MLA Shamanur Shivashankarappa, who also heads the All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha, on Tuesday afternoon.

The meeting remained inconclusive while Shivashankarappa said that the government decision, prima facie, does injustice to the community. The Mahasabha has resolved to meet again on March 23 in Bengaluru to take a stand on its next step.

"Soon after the Cabinet decision, we welcomed it, but were not aware of the full details. We feel injustice is being done to us. We have convened another meeting to discuss the ramifications of this recommendation," he told reporters after a three-hour long meeting in Davangere.
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