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Is Sidda and Ramaiah the next divide on the cards in Karnataka?

By Vicky Nanjappa
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    Would you divide yourself as Sidda and Ramaiah, the former Lokayukta of Karnataka, Justice Santhosh Hegde asked. Slamming the Karnataka government's move to recommend the religious minority tag to the Lingayats, Justice Hegde said that the government had no business to recognise any community as a religion.

    Justice Santhosh Hegde

    In a scathing write-up, which has gone viral in the social media, Hegde, a former Karnataka Lokayukta, sought to know from Siddaramaiah "when he would divide himself as Sidda and Ramaiah."

    "Sir, I am not a politician. I am not interested in who will win the next elections, but sir where will politics stop dividing us ordinary people?" he said in a poser to the chief minister.

    Hegde also queried if Siddaramaiah would recognise either Digambar or Shwetambar as backwards, Shias or Sunnis as separate religions for recognition as backward, or Protestants or Roman Catholics as separate religions for offering backward status.

    "Or which of left or right SC's as more backwards. Or which of Bunts or Nadavas as a different religion and amongst them who is more backward and among Brahmins who will it be Vaishnavas or Shiva's or will you divide Siddaramaiah to Sidda and Ramaiah?"

    "We are having a government under the constitution of India, a secular government. No political party, no government has any business to interfere in the internal affairs of any community," Hegde said.

    In a sarcastic remark to the chief minister, Hegde sought to know if a chief minister can interfere between a husband and wife.

    "Can a chief minister say between husband and wife you divorce him and come and I will find a better groom for you. Yes, I am very much hurt... that's why I wrote. I have been a judge at the Supreme Court. I know my limitations. How low can you get in?" asked Hegde.

    In a major political move ahead of the Karnataka assembly polls, the state cabinet yesterday decided to recommend to the Centre according to religion status to the numerically strong Lingayat and Veerashaiva Lingayat community.

    The move was seen as an attempt by the Siddaramaiah government to cut into the vote bank of BJP, as Lingayats/ Veerashaivas are considered its traditional supporters.

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