Karnataka government gives separate religion tag for Lingayats

New Delhi: Karnataka state government has today given a nod for a ‘separate minority religion status’ to Lingayats, just ahead of state elections. The state’s Minorities Commission had formed a seven-member committee, headed by retired high court Judge HN Nagamohan Das in the matter, whose report was submitted on March 2 stating that “Lingayats in Karnataka may be considered as a religious minority.”

The move has been seen as to woo the influential Lingayat community, that comprises of seventeen percent of Karnataka’s population. The BJP and many sections of the Hindu community have kept away from giving Veerashaiva or Lingayat separate religion tags. They have accused the Siddaramaiah government of dividing Veerashaiva-Lingayat vote bank, that usually favours BJP. Moreover, BJP’s strongman BS Yeddyurappa also belongs to Lingayat community.

Lingayatism was founded by Basava, a 12th-century Hindu philosopher. The community had distanced itself from Hindu Veerashaivas, as Lingayats do not believe in Vedas, reincarnation and karma.

In an earlier report, an unidentified government person was quoted as saying: “The probability of Lingayats being declared as minorities before the Assembly polls is quite high.”

The suggestion which has been accepted under section 2D of the state Minorities Commission Act will now be sent to the Centre for the final approval.

With agency inputs