Separate religious status for Lingayats, Seer’s deadline to Siddaramaiah

Karnataka: On Sunday Lingayat leaders and religious heads urged the Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to recommend to the Centre to give separate religious status to Lingayats and announce that Basavanna, founder of the lingayat sect, is the cultural leader of the state.
According a news report published in Hindustan Times, At the annual convention of the Lingayat Mahasabha, Mate Mahadevi, the influential head of the Basava Dharma Peetha, had said that “Elections are due next year and once the model code of conduct comes into force it will not be possible for the government to do so. Hence, I call on the chief minister to make the recommendation by December 30.”
The demand of lingayats received boost after Siddaramaiah assured that separate status would be given after a unanimous decision is taken.
Mahadevi also said that “Before that even the British had recognised ours as a religion separate from Hinduism. But unfortunately we lost our freedom after the country gained Independence.”
Mr.Kulkarni, state minister who also had been part of the movement said that the movement was not against any particular community and told that  “Some people say we are trying to break Hindu religion, but that is not true… Anybody born in Hindustan is a Hindu. But within that we are Lingayat religion. Like Muslims had Mohammed, Christians had Christ, Buddhists had Buddha, and Sikhs had Guru Nanak, we have Basavanna.” Referring to some Veerashaiva leaders Mr.Kulkarni said that  “We have only one request. You demand what you want, but just leave us out of it so that we can make our demand for separate religion status.”
Meanwhile MB Patil, another state Minister, said that he had himself signed a petition calling for Veerashaiva-Lingayat to be recognised as a separate religion. “But that petition was rejected thrice. Then I got thinking about the reason for this, and then it became clear that as long as the name Veerashaiva is used it will be considered as a branch of Shaivite philosophy and a part of Hindu religion.”
Patil also said that “Only in 2014, Jains were recognised as a minority religion. I want to ask (BJP president) Amit Shah if the Hindu religion was broken when Jains and Sikhs were called a minority? Why are these allegations made only when Lingayats have raised this demand?”
According to SM Jamdar, a retired IAS Officer, there has been a conspiracy to include lingayats into Hindu religion, though lingayats were considered as separate religious community before Independence which is seen in 1871 census. “In the Census of 1871, Lingayats were classified as a separate religious group. But this changed in the 1981 Census thanks to the conspiracy of the then Diwan of Mysore,” Jamdar said.