The state government, on March 19, 2018, accepted suggestions of the Nagamohan Das committee to recognize Lingayats as a separate religion. The state government accepted the recommendation of Nagamohan committee under section 2D of the State Minorities Commission Act. Now the proposal will depend on the central government for final approval. Is this a ploy taken by the Congress to allure the voters or will this step will divide the voter of the community?

Who are Lingayats?

Lingayats are followers of 12th-century social reformers. It is a community that is made-up of different castes within Hinduism, united by their allegiances to the teaching of Basaveshwara, saint of the bhakti movement.

How is it started?

Lingayats have been revolting against oppression and discrimination by the Veerashaivas, who are politically and economically a dominant group within the community. The issue came into Limelight when Chief Minister Siddaramaiah promised to consider the demand. The Karnataka State Minorities had decided to form a seven-member committee, headed by retired judge HN Nagamohan. After a few days, the committee submitted the report in favor of the Lingayats, that Lingayats could be considered as a religious minority while the community of Veershaivas is also asking to be treated as religious minorities status.

What’s minority status?

Article 30 is classified under Part 3 of the Indian Constitute that clarifies the entire Fundamental Right guaranteed to the citizen of India irrespective of their religion, caste and sex.

Article 30 upholds “right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.” Lingayats are categorized under 3(B) of the Karnataka Reservation is entitled to 5% reservations list along with Christians, Jains, and other Communities. Lingayats has 99 sub-castes that are listed under multiples categories, would get a higher allocation of reservation with the changes in religious status.

For the moment, there will not be any change in the reservation for education and jobs since the state government has left it to the center to decide on the issue, but they will enjoy 15 percent of the reservation under categories 2A and 3B.

Politician desire

This is a big move taken by the Congress to split the vote bank of BJP as the Lingayats have an influence on nearly 100 seats in 224 member assembly and this time Congress thinks that this move will get the Lingayats votes.

The BJP has accused the Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah that the party is playing with fire. It will be a test for the Modi government.

Hinduism is not a religion like Islam/Christianity. Instead, it encompasses multiple native scriptures/deities/culture/subculture of the Indian Sub- Continent under its umbrella. The decision is on the central government, but if we give the benefit of something to only one community, it does not portray a good example of harmony among the entire nation.