New Delhi, Nov 1 (UNI) A small group of Kodavas, wearing their traditional costumes, today held a dharna at Jantar Mantar in support of their demand for Kodava Autonomous Region in Karnataka on the lines of Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.
Kodavas, a martial race of Karnataka, have the distinction of producing several military titans including Field Marshall K M Cariappa, the first Chief of Staff of the Indian Army, when the country became Independent.
Kodagu was one of many kingdoms until it got merged into Karnataka in 1956. It even had a provincial Legislative Council enjoying the legislative, deliberative and interrogatory powers under the Government of India Act 1935 during the British period.
The Council even elected C M Poonaccha to the Constituent Assembly of India who went on to become Railway Minister of the country.
The activists of Kodava National Council have been holding dharnas on the Rajyotsava Day on November 1 for decades to highlight their legitimate demand for an autonomous region council and to pressurise the Centre and the State governments to recognise and accord Kodava language ethno-linguistic tribal status under article 340, 342 of the Constitution and extend reservation facilities for education and employment.
Kodavas have demanded that there should be 45 traditional Kodava home land comprising of 45 ancient Kodava Nads (cluster of villages) and a Bill should be brought before the Winter Session of Parliament.
The people are angry over the way they have been dealt by Karnataka state which had reduced an erstwhile Kingdom into a district comprising of three Taluks.
''Kodavas can only now elect three MLAs and no Member of Parliament because we have accepted family planning,'' Secretary General of Kodava National Council said.
The Kodavas are also demanding the Centre to establish a Central University in Kodagu district and start a Kodavology Department to conduct studies about the Kodava language and implement it as administrative language under 350B of the Constitution at par with Konkni language which has no script of its own.