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Karnataka Cabinet to recommend separate religion status for Lingayats ahead of polls

By Chennabasaveshwar

Amidst reports of differences between Ministers belonging to both Veerashaiva and Lingayat faiths, Karnataka government has agreed to recommend separate religion status for Lingayat community on Monday. The state cabinet has accepted the recommendations of Justice Nagmohan Das committee.

Lingayat vs Veerashaiva: Karnataka Cabinet begins deliberation

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."

[READ MORE: Constitutional recognition of Lingayat religion does not lead to further division of Hindus]

The Cabinet also decided to forward the same to the Central Government for notifying under section 2 (c) of the Central Minority Commission Act.

The Cabinet while forwarding the report of the expert committee to the Centre recommended that such decision by the Government should not affect the existing benefits and other benefits available to the other religious or linguistic minorities.

Earlier, Veerashaiva pontiff, Rambhpuri Guruji, cautioned the Congress government against recommending separate religion for Lingayats. He warned that Congress will have to face the music if the Cabinet recommends for separate religion status for Lingayats.

The seer alleged that the report submitted by Justice Nagmohan Das committee, recommending separate religion for Lingayats, is biased in nature.

According to reports, the panel led by retired judge of High Court of Karnataka Justice Nagamohan Das had initially said it requires six months to submit the report, it, surprisingly, handed over the report in a month's time.

Lingayat leader Mate Mahadevi had expressed confidence that CM Siddaramaiah would meet their demand and recommend to the Centre grant of separate religious status and minority status to their community. A delegation of Lingayat seers had met CM Siddaramaiah at his residence on Sunday to submit their demand.

The demand for a separate religion tag to Veerashaiva/ Lingayat faiths has surfaced from the numerically strong and politically-influential community.

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 discussions in the last Cabinet meeting on March 8 remained inconclusive.

(With agency inputs)

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