Protestors demanded the BJP National President clarify his party’s stand on the state’s recommendation to grant separate minority status to Lingayats.

Basaveshwara Jayanti Amid protests in Bluru Amit Shah garlands Basavanna statue
Karnataka Elections Controversy Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - 13:06

A group of Lingayats staged protests in Bengaluru’s Basaveshwara Circle as Bharatiya Janata Party National President Amit Shah, on a two-day visit to poll-bound Karnataka, paid tribute to Basavanna on Basavanna Jayanti.

The festival is celebrated to mark the birth anniversary of Basavanna, a twelfth-century reformer who founded Lingayatism.

Amit Shah, who was in Bengaluru, garlanded the statue amid protests by the World Lingayat Mahasabha, who urged the leader to clarify his party’s stand on the Karnataka government’s recommendation to grant separate minority and religious status to Lingayats and Veerashaivas, who follow Basavanna’s teachings.

Several activists were detained by the police; one of them was heard saying, “Let him clarify his stand”, as he was dragged away by the police.

The Centre is currently considering the demand made by the Karnataka government, which also recently accorded the community minority status.

In his previous visits to the state, Shah had made it a point to visit several seers from the Lingayat community. The visits, however, have been far from smooth.

On March 28,  Shivamurthy Muruga Sharanaru, a senior Lingayat seer in Chitradurga, handed a formal memorandum to Amit Shah asking the Centre to endorse the Congress government’s move after its leaders had earlier denounced the decision as an ‘election gimmick’.

Shah has found favours from seers of the Veerashaiva community, whose bid for a separate religion status was not backed by the state government. The State in its decision specified that Veerashaivas who follow Basava Tatva also come under the larger umbrella of Lingayats.

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