New Delhi: The Karnataka State Minorities Commission has constituted a panel of seven members to study Lingayat community’s demand for a separate minority religion status.
The panel to be headed by retired High Court judge HN Nagamohan Das, and it has to submit a report within four weeks.
“The report of the expert committee shall be placed before the commission for consideration and for making suitable recommendations to the government,” read the order issued on Friday, according to The New Indian Express.
The other members of committee include Kannada Development Authority chairperson SG Siddaramaiah, lecturer Ramakrishna Marathe, and head of Kannada Language Chair at Jawaharlal Nehru University Purushotham Bilimane.
Lingayats are categorised as Other Backward Classes (OBC), and considered the single-largest community in the state. Due to their considerable population of 11.5% to 18 %, they are also considered politically powerful.
“The probability of Lingayats being declared as minorities before the Assembly polls is quite high,” The Times of India quoted an unidentified government person as saying.
BJP president Amit Shah had earlier said that the demand for a minority religion status for them was a political game played by Congress.
BJP MP from Chikkamagaluru-Udupi Shobha Karandlaje also had accused CM Siddaramaiah of dividing the Lingayat for political gains.