Lingayat as religious minority..Centre may intervene

National | March 20, 2018, 9:16 p.m.

New Delhi, March 20  The Union Home Ministry will examine the Karnataka government's recommendation to grant religious minority status to the Hindu sect of Lingayats and Veerashaiva Lingayats community as and when it receives the proposal, officials said on Tuesday.

The Karnataka cabinet on Monday agreed to consider Lingayats, a dominant community in the state, as a separate religion and decided to forward the proposal to the Central government for approval and notification under the National Commission for Minorities Act.

The issue will be examined when the Home Ministry receives the proposal from the Karnataka government, a senior home ministry official said here.

"If the proposal is received from Karnataka government, it can be forwarded by the Home Ministry to the Registrar General and Census Commissioner for a detailed examination and suggestions," another official said.

Ahead of upcoming assembly polls in the state, the state's Congress government on Monday unanimously decided to grant status of religious minority to Lingayats and Veerashaiva Lingayats, believers of 12th century social reformer Basava's ideologies. 

Karnataka Law Minister T.B. Jayachandra on Monday said the decision is based on the recommendations of Karnataka State Minorities Commission. 

The recommendation for a separate religion status for the Lignayat community was also made by a seven-member committee, headed by retired high court Judge H. N. Nagamohan Das, set up by the Siddaramaiah government in December 2017. The committee submitted its report on March 2.

The Lingayat and Veerashaiva community that owes allegiance to the "social reform movement" initiated by Basaveshwara, or Basava has a substantial population in Karnataka, especially in the northern parts of the state.

The BJP and several sections of the Hindu community have maintained a cautious stance on the issue, while accusing the Siddaramaiah government of dividing the society to draw political mileage ahead of assembly elections due in the next couple of months.
 

(IANS)

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