A day after the state Cabinet decided to approach Centre to recognise Lingayat as religion, party member Shamanur Shivashankarappa openly protested against the decision.
Shivashankarappa, who's also the President of Akhila Bharatha Veerashaiva Mahasabha, said, “We (Veerashaiva) won't accept the decision. It'll be discussed in meeting called by us on 23rd. Yesterday's decision is one-sided and we stick to our stand that Veerashaiva and Lingayat are one and the same.”
Siddaramaiah-led Karnataka government on Monday accepted the recommendation to recognise the Lingayat community as a separate religion. The state Cabinet meeting okayed the religion based on the suggestions of Nagamohan Das committee.
Immediately after, clashes broke out between Lingayat and Veerashaiva followers in Kalaburag, after members of the former faith came out to celebrate cabinet's decision. Members of Veerashaiva community - who had assembled to protest against the decision - came face-to-face and sloganeering led to flared tempers. Soon, scuffle and manhandling broke out as members of both communities clashed against each other.
The demand for a separate religion tag to Veerashaiva and Lingayat faiths has been surfaced from the numerically strong and politically-influential community, amidst resentment from within over projecting the two communities as the same.
The move to recoginse Lingayat as a religion comes weeks before the Karnataka Assembly elections, which are likely to be held in May.
With agency inputs