Announcing the seer’s demise at Siddaganga, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, flanked by deputy CM G Parmeshwara and Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa, said the Swamiji breathed his last at 11:44 am and the last rites would be held on Tuesday at 4:30 pm.
The CM also announced a three-day mourning period. “The state government declares a three-day state mourning and one-day holiday for all schools, colleges and government offices,” Kumaraswamy said.
The Lingayat seer had been in and out of hospitals for the past two months.
Dr Paramesh Shivana, the head of Siddaganga Hospital where the Swamiji was being treated, informed the media that the seer’s protein levels and blood pressure were found to be low early on Monday.
Kumaraswamy, Parameshwara and Home Minister MB Patil, along with the district administration and others, will be holding a meeting to discuss security arrangements and to check the precautionary measures to be put in place.
Yeddyurappa, Union minister DV Sadananda Gowda and BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje cancelled their scheduled programmes and rushed to the Mutt.
Condoling the demise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the seer devoted his life to the poor.
His Holiness Dr. Sree Sree Sree Sivakumara Swamigalu lived for the people, especially the poor and vulnerable. He devoted himself towards alleviating ills like poverty, hunger and social injustice.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 21, 2019
Prayers and solidarity with his countless devotees spread all across the world. pic.twitter.com/AqgOLgqTrn
HH Dr. Sree Sree Sree Sivakumara Swamigalu remained at the forefront of ensuring better healthcare and education facilities for the marginalised.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 21, 2019
He represents the best of our traditions of compassionate service, spirituality and protecting the rights of the underprivileged. pic.twitter.com/Tp6o5ULU2d
I have had the privilege to visit the Sree Siddaganga Mutt and receive the blessings of His Holiness Dr. Sree Sree Sree Sivakumara Swamigalu.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 21, 2019
The wide range of community service initiatives being done there are outstanding and are at an unimaginably large scale. pic.twitter.com/wsmRp2cERd
Reports say helipads are being set up around the Mutt and Tumkur industrial area for the arrival of VIPs. Many devotees from different parts of Karnataka have also started arriving at the Mutt, hoping to pay last respects to the Swamiji. Traffic on National Highway-48 towards Tumkuru has been diverted to different routes due to the huge crowds assembling near the Mutt.
The chief pontiff of the Siddaganga Mutt, Dr. Shivakumara Swamiji, was also fondly called Nadedaduva Devaru or 'the Walking God' by many. The Lingayat seer also headed the Sree Siddaganga Education Society which runs more than 100 educational institutions across the state.
On his centenary in 2007, the then Karnataka government had conferred the Karnataka Ratna, the highest civilian award in the state, to the seer. In 2015, the Government of India awarded him the Padma Bhushan. Kumaraswamy has urged the Centre to confer the prestigious Bharat Ratna on the seer.
CM Kumaraswamy said that he would personally write, as well as meet the PM with this request. "Honours like the Bharat Ratna will have value when it recognises people like Swamiji," Kumaraswami said on Friday.