Karnataka recognises Lingayats as separate religion, seeks Centre's nod

Lingayats Win, Karnataka Govt Approves Special Religion Status

With eyes on Assembly polls, Siddaramaiah-led Karnataka government on Monday chose to grant separate religion status for Lingayat community. The Lingayats follow 12th-century saint-philosopher Basavanna who had rejected ritualistic worship and pre-eminence of the Vedas.

ALSO READ: The Lingayat sect: Why Hindu and why not Hindu?

After the cabinet meeting, Irrigation Minister MB Patil said, "Karnataka Government has accepted the recommendations of Nagbhushan committee and cabinet has considered the separate religion for Lingayat community, Veershaiva Lingayat and followers of Basvanna (Basava tatva) will be brought under section 2D of state minority commission act and further we will recommend it to Government of India for National minority commission act".

Briefing reporters after a cabinet meeting, Karnataka Law Minister T B Jayachander said that the recommendation would be made under Section 2d of the Karnataka Minorities Act and that it was chose to forward the same to the Centre under Section 2c of the Central Minority Commission Act.

The Karnataka cabinet has chose to accept the recommendations of an expert panel on minority religion status for Lingayats. The minority status has also been granted to Veerashaivas who were not okay with the granting of minority status to the Lingayats alone.

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A seven-member panel was constituted by Karnataka State Minorities Commission to study the demand for a separate religion status.

The seers, led by Gadag-based Tontadarya Mutt's Siddalinga Swami, called on Siddaramaiah at his official residence in Bengaluru and wanted him to consider and implement the Nagmohan Das Committee's report that said "Lingayats in Karnataka may be considered as religious minority". The panel said, "Lingayats in Karnataka may be considered a religious minority".

The BJP's chief ministerial candidate, BS Yeddyurappa, is a Lingayat.

"The decision has been taken after deep deliberations and discussion...", he said. Many, however, think the community might still vote for the BJP despite the move.

Earlier, Veerashaiva pontiff, Rambhpuri Guruji, cautioned the Congress government against recommending separate religion for Lingayats.

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