Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court has disposed of the pleas challenging the recommendations of a panel to grant minority status to the Lingayat sect after the Center told that they were considered as Hindus since the first census in 1871.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and justice S Sujatha disposed of the plea and said that the case doesn’t hold any merit of consideration.
The additional solicitor general has submitted the Centre’s letter to the Karnataka government in this matter.
On March 23, the Karnataka government has written to the Centre demanding a minority status for the Lingayat community.
Minority Affairs Ministry wrote a letter to the state government on November 15 and said, “The demand for separate religious status by Lingayat and Veerashaiva has been considered earlier also and it was observed that Lingayat has always been classified under Hindus ever since 1871 census, the first official census in India.”
The letter further stated, “Those scheduled caste members professing Veerashaiva Lingayat sect would be bereft of all the benefits given to them once they are provided separate religion code other than Hindus.”
SM Jamdar who is leading the movement under Jagatika Lingayat Mahasabha (JLM) has decided to take up this matter further and vowed to fight it out till his last breath. Jamdar who is Secretary-General of JLM has said that the fight will continue till the forum objective is achieved.
Jamdar said, “The Centre is misleading. The 1871 census reports the Centre referred to for rejecting the proposal always treated Lingayats separate from Hindus.”
A social reformer of 12th century Basaveshwara founded the Lingayat sect with the objective of social justice, benevolence and piety. The movement was against the year-old practices and orthodox traditions, rituals and casteism which were responsible for the backwardness in his time.