Demanding an independent religion for themselves, the Karnataka’s powerful Lingayats took to streets in Bidar area of the state.
Nearly two lakh people gathered at the Nehru Stadium from across Karnataka and marched though the major streets of the city raising slogans demanding independent status for Lingayats, reported The Hindu.
They targetted their angst at those who argued that the Lingayat community as an integral part of Hinduism and also those who said Lingayat and Veerashaiva were one and the same.
The community leaders gathered at the protest rally said that Lingayats had been neither part of the Hindu religion nor were a synonym for the Veerashaiva sect.
“There are two main religious streams in Hinduism — Shaivas and Vaishnavas. Veerashaiva is one among the seven sects of Shaivas. Both Shaivas and Vaishnavas uphold Vedas, Agamas, Shastras and Puranas and follow the Vedic religious practices. However, Lingayat religion founded by Basaveshwara vehemently opposed them,” The Hindu quoted them as saying.
Shivalinga Shivacharya, a religious leader from Lingayat community in Maharashtra, appeared visibly angry that successive governments had refused to recognise Lingayat as an independent religion.
He said, “Lingayats are spread across Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and other States. Historically, ours is an independent religion founded by Basaveshwara in the 12th century. It has never been a part of Hinduism. Contrarily, it fought Hinduism.”
Panchamasali Jagadguru of Koodalasangama Mutt said that the “followers of Manu” were responsible for suppressing the voices of Lingayats.
“The new wave of agitation has now begun from the land of Basaveshwara. We shall not stop until we get the status of independent religion. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah should immediately send a recommendation on this,” he said.