Govt. notifies Lingayat religion tag

Bengaluru: The State Government yesterday issued a notification on granting religious minority status to “Lingayats and Veerashaiva-Lingayats who believe in Basavanna’s ideology” while the Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha demanded a change in the nomenclature.

In a nine-point resolution passed by the Executive Committee of the Mahasabha headed by senior Congress leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa, it was demanded that the Government drop the words “Basava tatva” (principles) from its decision. Instead, the status should be accorded to both Lingayat Veerashaiva communities, considering them as one and the same.

However, the Body clarified that it has no objection for according the status to Veerashaiva Lingayats outside of the Hindu fold. The Body contended that differentiating between Veerashaiva and Lingyats was incorrect and an attempt to divide them.

It resolved to urge the State Government to “force the NDA Government at the Centre to honour proposal of according separate religions tag to Veerashaiva Lingayat religion, which was sent in 2013 during the tenure of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government.”

On the other end, the Department of Minorities Welfare, Haj and Wakf notified “religious minority” status to “Lingayats (believers of Basava philosophy)” under section 2(d) of the Karnataka State Minorities Act, 1994. It will, however, come into effect after the Centre issues a similar notification under 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 2005, as per the notification.

“It is unconstitutional to impose any tatva. Hence, the Government should withdraw its decision (taken in Mar.19 State Cabinet meeting),” Shivashankarappa said. “The Government should take steps to accord the status to Veerashaiva-Lingayat as recommend by the Mahasabha in the past,” he added. The Mahasabha said the community will not get any reservation as per the Government’s decision to accord the status. The community should get all benefits that minority communities like Muslims and Christians are availing, including education and employment.

“We don’t differentiate between Veerashaiva and Lingayat. We don’t want to know who founded the faith. Our aim is to maintain unity and not divide the community. People belonging to the community should not get confused,” the resolution stated.

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