"If there is, then the committee will probe these differences and suggest if it would be favourable to grant a minority religion status for the Lingayats", said retired IAS officer, Jamdar.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has said the State government has no role or stance on the issue of separate religion tag for Veerashaiva/Lingayat.
The meeting, held under the aegis of the newly formed forum "Lingayat Mahasabha" was also attended by political leaders, scholars and former bureaucrats. The Mahasabha was organised at Bengaluru's Jnana Jyothi Auditorium.
Submitting a memorandum to the Chief Minister, the delegation requested the State Government to give recognition to Lingayat dharma and not to Veerashaiva Lingayat dharma.
The political agenda of the ruling Congress to dent the BJP's Lingayat vote-bank by supporting the campaign to seek separate religion status for Lingayats suffered a minor setback, with not many prominent and powerful spiritual leaders extending their support.
The meeting also directed heads of Virakta Mutts (who consider Basaveshwara as the founder of Lingayat Dharma) to propagate Basaveshwara's philosophy on a war-footing. But there are key differences in ideology, practice, belief and tradition.
"In 2014, the UPA government had given minority religion status to those following Jainism. This decision has been taken unanimously". He argued that according to five Census exercises from 1881 to 1931, Veerashaiva was a sub-sect of Lingayat community. Patil and mines minister Vinay Kulkarni, also a Lingayat, had met several influential seers including Suttur mutt seer of Mysuru, to invite them for the conclave.
Those absent included Ministers H.K. Patil, Eshwar Khandre and S.S. Mallikarjun who are associated with Veerashaiva Mahasabha. Pontiffs of over 20 Lingayat mutts, their followers including politicians took part in a grand meeting on Thursday where the decision to demand religious minority status was taken.
However, the heads of the Pancha Peetha mutts in South Karnataka were not present at the meeting.
Seers of Virakta Mutts should propagate Basaveshwara's principles or else step down from their position. The problem is that Veerashaivas are the 38th subsect of Lingayats.
In keeping with the 1941 resolution of the Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha, it should be renewed as Akhila Bharata Lingayat Mahasabha.