Bengaluru: The Karnataka government on Monday accepted the recommendation to recognise the Lingayat community as a separate religion. The state Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and okayed the religion based on the suggestions of Nagamohan Das committee. The Cabinet will now forward its recommendation to the Centre.
On Saturday, a group of Lingayat seers met Siddaramaiah, urging him to implement the report of an official committee that recommended conferring a spearate religious and minority status to their community. The seers, led by Gadag-based Tontadarya Mutt's Siddalinga Swami, had also requested to recognise the Lingayats as a religious minority.
"Our fight is not new, it has been a 900-year-old fight and it has taken a shape now. The Chief Minister should implement the report and accord separate status to Lingayat community," Siddalinga Swami said.
The demand for a separate religion tag to Veerashaiva/ Lingayat faiths has surfaced from the numerically strong and politically-influential community, amidst resentment from within over projecting the two communities as the same.
While one section led by Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha has demanded separate religion status, asserting that Veerashaiva and Lingayats are the same, the other wants it only for Lingayats as it believes that Veerashaivas are one among the seven sects of Shaivas, which is part of Hinduism.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and several sections of the Hindu community have maintained a cautious stance, keeping away from the move to give Veerashaiva/Lingayat separate religion status. They have accused the Siddaramaiah government of dividing society to draw political mileage ahead of the assembly elections. Lingayat strongman and state BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa has been saying that his party would not allow efforts to "divide" the community.
With inputs from PTI