Clashes broke out on Monday between Lingayat and Veerashaiva followers in Kalaburagi after the Karnataka cabinet on Monday decided to grant the Lingayat community the status of a separate religion, media reports said.
According to ANI, the clashes broke after followers from both communities gathered in the same area to voice their opinion about the issue. The Lingayat followers had come there to celebrate the state cabinet's decision, while the Veerashaiva followers had come to the same area to protest against the decision, following which a scuffle began.
Karnataka: Clashes broke out b/w #Lingayat followers & Veerashaiva followers in Kalaburagi. Lingayat followers had come to celebrate state cabinet's approval for recommendation of separate religion for Lingayat community, Veerashaiva followers had come to protest against the same pic.twitter.com/Ds5rneqQxU
— ANI (@ANI) March 19, 2018
According to India Today, Lingayat supporters beat up a Veerashaiva follower, MS Patil. The report added that the police intervened and dispersed the crowd before clashes could escalate. Four people have been taken into custody for the clashes so far.
In a decision fraught with political implications in poll-bound Karnataka, the state cabinet had on Monday decided to recommend to the Centre the grant of religious minority tag for the numerically strong Lingayat and Veerashaiva Lingayat community.
The meeting considered the recommendations of a committee under the Karnataka State Minority Commission amid reports of a division among ministers and discordant notes from seers of the community on the issue. Lingayats/Veerashaivas, estimated to form 17 percent of the state population, are considered the BJP's traditional voter base.
The move is seen as an attempt by chief minister Siddaramaiah to wean away a section of them towards the Congress, though the BJP maintains it would backfire badly. The saffron party also alleged that the Nagamohan Das committee, a government-sponsored panel, was pressured to submit the report early due to the elections.
"After due deliberations and some discussions on concerns of various sections of society, the cabinet has decided to accept the recommendations of the Karnataka State Minority Commission," Law Minister TB Jayachandra said.
He said the commission, based on the report of an expert committee, has recommended considering grant of recognition as a religious minority to the Lingayat and Veerashaiva Lingayats (Believers of Basava Tatva (philosophy) under Section 2 (d) of the Karnataka State Minorities Act. "It was also decided to forward the same to the central government for notifying under Section 2(c) of the Central Minority Commission Act," he told reporters.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Mar 19, 2018 22:10:35 IST