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Friday, December 09 2022

Lingayat Mahasabha to file rebuttal to Centre in Karnataka High Court

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Jagathika Lingayat Mahasabha (JLM) has urged the Centre to reconsider the decision on denial of a separate religion tag to the Lingayat community.

The Union Home Ministry wrote to the Karnataka High Court on Monday, rejecting the state government’s proposal for a separate Lingayat religion.

The Mahasabha which is heading the movement in favour of a. Separate religious tag, is planning to file a rebuttal to the Centre in the Karnataka High Court.

SM Jamdaar, General Secretary of the Mahasabha, said, “We will approach with a rebuttal of the three reasons given by the Centre and they have to reconsider the decision. We will also bring up the fact that BJP President Amit Shah hinted in the run-up to the Karnataka elections that the Centre will not accept the proposal.”

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by Shashidhar Shanbhog and others challenging the constitution of a panel formed by the Karnataka State Minorities Commission to look into the demand of Lingayats.

The Union Ministry stated three reasons for its decision: 1. the proposal has been rejected before, 2. there is no documentary evidence, and 3. community will lose SC privileges.

Responding to the ministry’s decision, Jamdaar said, “The rejected proposal was made by the Akhila Bharatha Veerashaiva Mahasabha and hence it was a private petition. This time, the proposal has been made by the Karnataka government.”

“We have provided the government with ample evidence. The key document is the 1871 Mysore census which lists Lingayats alongside Jains as a separate entity from Hindu religion,” he said. And in response to the ministry’s comment on losing SC privileges, Jamdaar added, “This was not the case when Sikhism in 1963 and Buddhism in 1993 became a separate religion. They retained their status as a SC. Why won’t that be the case with Lingayats?”

Jamdaar has fronted several press conferences on the issue regarding the demand of a separate Lingayat religion.

The Siddaramaiah-led Congress government formed an expert committee to look into the issue demanding a separate Lingayat religion. Based on the committee’s recommendation, the state government proposed to the Centre to grant a separate religion tag to Lingayats. But the demand was opposed by another community, the Veerashaivas, who also follow Basavanna.

The current JD(S)-Congress coalition government have not come forward to support the demand for a separate religion tag for the Lingayats.

A three-day Lingayat convention is carried out in New Delhi, in which the Centre’s decision was condemned.

Jagathika Lingayat Mahasabha is planning to fight back the Centre’s decision legally in Karnataka High Court.

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