Lingayats protest in Delhi, want religious minority status


Team Udayavani, Dec 12, 2018, 6:54 PM IST

New Delhi / Bengaluru: Thousands of people belonging to the Lingayat community Wednesday gathered at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar to demand a declaration of Lingayat as a religious minority and its recognition as an independent religion.

The members, hailing from various states, said a memorandum declaring Lingayats as a religious minority and issuing a special order to record Lingayats in a special column in the forthcoming census, among others, will be submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Requisition for – Recognition of Lingayat religion as an independent religion, declaring Lingayats as religious minorities and issuing a special order to record Lingayats in a special column in the forthcoming census (2021),” the memorandum said.

A copy of the memorandum will also be submitted to President Ram Nath Kovind, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and BJP President Amit Shah and National Minorities Commission.

“It (Lingayat) is now at present considered as a caste in Hinduism because of ignorance. In certificates, it appears as Hindu Lingayat. Lingayatism is not a caste. It is an independent religion just like other religion,” Jagadguru Mate Mahadevi of Basava Dharma Peetha said.

“We want the centre to give minority religious status to Lingayat community and extend facilities. We also want an independent column for Lingayat in the forthcoming census,” she said.

Several Lingayats from Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu joined the protest.

Last year, the Siddaramaiah government had approved a report given by Justice Nagamohan Das Committee, stating that Lingayat is an independent religion and is not a part of Hinduism.

That report was passed by the Karnataka government and was sent to the Centre for approval. The report has been pending with the Centre for the last one year, said Siddaveer, a member of Rashtriya Basava Dal.

“The Centre has now rejected the proposal. We are here to protest against it. We want Lingayat to be recognised as an independent religion,” he said.

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