Lingayat issue: Seers caution CM Siddaramaiah against religion tag

BENGALURU: Chief Minster Siddaramaiah is in a dilemma over his move to accord a separate minority religion status for the Lingayat community as a delegation of seers of various mutts led by Kashipeetha seer Chandrashekara Shivacharya Swami met him on Thursday and made a strong plea to drop the proposal.

The seers submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister and said Veerashaivas and Lingayats were one and the same. They urged Siddaramaiah not to divide the community.
The seers demanded that the CM reject the report of the Justice Nagmohan Das committee recommending separate religion status for Lingayats. They questioned the credibility of the panel by stating it had five Lingayats as its members.

Chandrashekara Shivacharya cautioned the state government against forcing any decision and threatened to launch a statewide agitation against the government if the Nagmohan Das report was accepted. Dingaleshwara Swami of Balehosur said they would launch a legal battle against those Veerashaiva Mutt chiefs who are supporting the demand for a separate Lingayat religion. He said the CM should declare that Lingayats and Veerashaivas were one and the same.

Siddaramaiah reportedly told them that he had constituted an expert committee after he received many representations demanding a separate religion tag. He denied any intention to divide the community.
With seers of many mutts threatening to launch an agitation and the All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha too taking a hostile stand against the government, the Congress high command is said to have asked Siddaramaiah to tread cautiously.

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