BENGALURU: The decision to accord a separate minority religion tag for Lingayats, which is being touted as a master stroke ahead of the Assembly election, could in reality remain a mere eye wash to draw Lingayats towards Congress. This is because there is still a long and arduous way ahead to attain the real benefits of the decision.The state Cabinet has decided to accord a separate religion status for the community under Section 2(D) of the Karnataka Minority Commission Act, which empowers the state to accord the status to any community after an exhaustive study.
“The state government will issue a notification soon,” Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra said. However, the move will only get the minority status for the community, but not the related benefits such as reservation in education and employment. The state government will now forward the Cabinet recommendation to the Union government to accord the Minority Status for Lingayats under Section 2(C) of the National Minority Commission Act, which is needed to grant special benefits for the community.
Under Section 2(c) of National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Act, 1992, five religious communities - Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis are declared as minority communities through a government notification issued in October 1993. Thereafter, the Ministry of Minority Affairs has been receiving regular representations for the inclusion of Jains as a minority community which has been accepted and Jains were later included as a Minority community.“We want the Union government to do the same for Lingayats,” Jayachandra said.
However, considering its impact on Assembly election, the BJP-led Union government is unlikely to take any decision for now. Also with the Election Commission set to issue the notification for assembly polls within the next few days and the poll code of conduct coming into effect, the Cabinet decision will remain a mere eye wash for the agitating Lingayat community.
BJP, JD(S) say Congress government is dividing society
Bengaluru: The state government’s Cabinet decision recommending minority status to Lingayats and Veerashaiva Lingayats attracted severe criticism from both the BJP and the JD(S). “This is a devious and sinister design on the part of the Congress government before the elections,” a joint statement by BJP spokespersons Mohan Limbikai and Sashil Namoshi said.
“The present move by the state government is solely intended to divide the community, divide a section of people on religious lines and also to put the entire community in a difficult position. The present Congress government, by giving it a religious colour, has sought to destroy the very basic Basava philosophy itself,” the statement read. The BJP has always maintained that it is the Veerashaiva Mahasabha and the Matadhipathis who have to take a decision in the matter, the statement added. JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy said the Veerashaiva-Lingayat religion tag issue was the CM’s hidden agenda.
A historic decision, says M B Patil
Water Resources Minister M B Patil and Mines and Geology Minister Vinay Kulkarni termed Siddaramaiah government’s decision fulfilling their demand as historic. Speaking after the Cabinet meeting, the two ministers said that this will give a big boost for the native religion of Kannadigas to attain the status of a global religion based on the principles of social justice to build a caste-less society. The religion is “our native religion born in Karnataka. It is the religion of Kannadigas. The state government’s decision will help us spread Basava principles, Vachanas and Lingayat culture globally,” Patil said. The ministers denied allegations that the state government’s decision was politically motivated. He also claimed that the decision was unanimous and the All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha too has welcomed the decision.