Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Lingayats as minority

Karnataka Government headed by K. Siddaramaiah has recognised Lingayats as minority and has asked Central Government headed by Narendra Modi to recognise Lingayats as minority. Murugha Mutt’s Shivamurthy Murugarajendra Swamiji has submitted a memorandum to BJP President Amit Shah seeking minority status to Lingayats from Centre. Lingayat scholar S. M. Jaamdar said Lingayats are not Hindus. Lingayats are followers of Basava. They bury their dead. They do not have idols. They do not believe in rebirth, heaven or hell. Veerashaivas are not Lingayats.
Karnataka Government has also recognised Veerashaivas as minority.
It is election time. When Congress was in power at Centre it had not recognised Lingayats as minority. RSS does not favour minority status to Lingayats. Modi Government is in a quandary. Any decision or no decision will offend a large section of people. Votes can be lost. Dream of Congress-Free India will receive a setback.
Lingayats are about 17% in Karnataka. They do not have much presence outside Karnataka.
Article 29 of the Constitution of India is about the Protection of interests of minorities. Article 30 gives religious and linguistic minorities the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
In Karnataka Hindus whose mother tongue is Konkani, Tulu, Kodava, Malayalam, Tamil or Telugu have linguistic minority status and have established educational institutions.
In India Buddhists, Christians, Jains, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and Zoroastrians are recognised as minorities. Bahais and many tribal religions are not recognised as minorities. Ramakrishna Mission had claimed minority status in West Bengal. In 1981 Justice B. C. Roy of Calcutta High Court declared Ramakrishna Mission a minority. In 1985 a division bench of Calcutta High Court upheld that decision. The case went to Supreme Court. On 2/7/1995 Supreme Court declared Ramakrishna Mission is Hindu and not a minority.

Updated: March 28, 2018 — 5:02 pm

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