Karnataka govt okays separate religion status for Lingayats, seeks Centre's nod

Karnataka govt okays separate religion status for Lingayats, seeks Centre's nod

Karnataka govt okays separate religion status for Lingayats, seeks Centre's nod

The State Cabinet on Monday accepted the recommendation of an expert committee to accord ‘religious minority’ status to the numerically strong and politically-influential Lingayat and Veerashaiva Lingayat community.

The state government will soon notify “religious minority” status to “Lingayats and Veerashaiva Lingayats (believers of Basava philosophy) ” under section 2(d) of the Karnataka State Minorities Act, 1994.

Addressing reporters after the cabinet meeting, which lasted for four hours and witnessed a heated debate on the issue, Law Minister T B Jayachandra said the state government will also recommend to the Centre to notify “Lingayats and Veerashaiva Lingayats” under section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities, 2005 for final approval.

The meeting chaired by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah accepted the recommendations of the seven-member expert committee headed by retired Karnataka high court judge H N Nagamohan Das.

There was a discussion for over four hours before taking the final decision.

Before taking the final decision, the meeting witnessed heated arguments among cabinet colleagues as ministers were divided on the issues.

The committee submitted its report on March 2, 2018 recommending "Religious Minority" status for Lingayat community. The cabinet meeting was divided in its opinion and deferred a decision to March 14.

According to the report, Lingayats cannot be considered as a sub-sect of Hinduism. It was founded by the 12th-century social reformer Basavanna. Based on the historical documents, Lingayat can be accorded minority status on the lines of Buddhism and Jainism.

 

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