इंडियन आवाज़     03 Oct 2023 11:08:39      انڈین آواز

Row in Karnataka over Lingayats’ demand for separate religious status

IA NEWS / Bangalore

Lingayat-rally- BidarThe latest agitation by the dominant Lingayat community seeking its own religious status in Karnataka has created a religio-political row in the state.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s positive response to the demands of Lingayats has attrcted anger of Lingayat strongman former CM and BJP state President, BS Yeddyurappa.

Speaking to media in Shivamogga on Saturday, Yeddyurappa said that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was trying to divide the Lingayat community.

“There is no difference between Veerashaivas and Lingayats. We are very much Hindus and cannot be separated from Hinduism. Siddaramaiah is trying to divide and rule here. He should know that the Lingayat community will stand united like always. There is no question of forming a separate religion,” Yeddyurappa said.

Stating that CM Siddaramaiah was trying to politicise a religious issue, the former CM said that “a sensitive issue such as religion should not be politicised.”

Lingayats in Karnataka demand independent religious status

“This issue has the potential to hurt religious sentiments and Siddaramaiah is harping on this fact. Let this issue remain a religious one. Politicising it will only create more disharmony. Siddaramaiah is trying to gain Lingayat votes by dividing the community,” he said.

Siddaramaiah is reportedly promised the agitating Lingayats to forward their demand to centre.

“We have urged the CM to take up the matter with the Central government and push for our cause of being declared an independent religion,” Basava Dharma Peeta head, Mate Mahadevi said.

Basava Mantap Sri Channabasavanand Swamiji said that CM Siddaramaiah has promised to take up the issue with the Centre.

On July 18 more than 50,000 Lingayats from Karnataka, Telangana and Maharashtra gathered at Bidar’s Nehru Maidan to demand a separate ‘religious minority’ status. They contested that the Lingayats were not part of the Hindu religion nor the Veerashaiva sect.

The rally led by the Lingayat Dharma Samanvaya Samithi, represented by various Lingayat religious heads and elected representatives, urged the state government to represent their case before the Centre to accord independent religious status to the Lingayats.

Karnataka is estimated to have about 60 lakh Lingayats belonging to more than 60-odd sub-sects. The community is also accorded Backward Class status.

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