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'Rashtriya Basava Sene' to take the fight for separate religious tag to Lingayats forward

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Lakhs of people from the Lingayat community congregated at a massive rally in Kalburgi (previously Gulbarga) of Karnataka to reiterate their demand for a separate religious tag. Formation of the 'Rashtriya Basava Sene' was the biggest takeaway from Sunday's massive rally that was the fourth of its kind in the last two months.

Lingayat community congregated at a massive rally in Kalburgi

Congress leader and Karnataka minister for Mines and Geology Vinay Kulkarni was announced as the National President of the Rashtriya Basava Sene- a counterpart of Basava Sene that already exists in Maharashtra. Kulkarni and M B Patil have been leading the protests demanding separate religion tag for Lingayats independent of Veerashaivas. The community hopes to achieve 'minority' status with the separate religious tag along the lines of Jainism and Buddhism.

"The Rashtriya Basava Sene will function as a youth wing and work towards unifying the community and coordinating various activities, " said S M Jamdar, member of the Lingayat Samanvaya Samiti. He added that the organization- which will function as the national headquarters of the community- will work towards organizing events, awareness programs, jayanthis.

Resolution for Gauri Lankesh, M M Kalburgi

A resolution condemning the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh was passed at the rally. A resolution urging for the immediate arrest of killers of M M Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh- both Lingayats- was passed. The community urged that the killers should not be allowed to go scotfree.

The demand for a separate identity and minority tag for Lingayats-independent from Veerashaivas- has moved from being an identity tussle to take on a political colour ahead of the 2018 Karnataka assembly elections. While the BJP has remained mum over the issue, the Congress has attempted to distance itself from the row- this despite the Congress' leaders prominently leading the cause of separate religious status for Lingayats.

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