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Karnataka’s 111-year-old seer critical

Bengaluru, Jan 21 (IANS) Karnataka’s 111-year-old revered seer, Shivakumara Swami of Siddaganga Mutt at Tumakuru, is in critical condition and has been put on life support, Home Minister M.B. Patil said on Monday.

“Shivakumara Swami is in critical condition and is on life support at the Mutt. Doctors are monitoring his condition,” Patil told mediapersons in Tumakuru, about 70 km northwest of here.

Known among his followers as a “walking god” and an incarnation of the 12th century social reformer Basava, the Lingayat seer also heads the Sree Siddaganga Education Society, which runs about 125 educational institutions in the state – from engineering colleges to business schools.

Many of the institutions offer free education and boarding facilities to poor students.

Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy will visit the Mutt to enquire about Swami’s health, a statement from his office said.

The Swami, who is said to be one of the oldest persons living in India, has been suffering from lung infection for the past few weeks. He has been in and out of hospitals over the last few years due to his advanced age.

Security has been tightened at the Mutt as hundreds of followers gathered, praying for the holy man’s recovery.

Born on April 1, 1907 in Veerapura village of Ramanagara district in Karnataka, the Swami is also involved in several philanthropic activities and was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2015.

Last week, Kumaraswamy demanded the highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna, for the seer as recognition of his service to the society.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted last week: “His Holiness Shivakumara Swami is a remarkable personality and has positively impacted crores of lives through his outstanding service. The entire nation is praying for his speedy recovery and good health.”

–IANS

bha/oeb/mr

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