State minorities development minister Vinod Tawde, in his written reply in the legislative assembly on Thursday, clearly refused to give separate religion tag to the Lingayat community in the state.
MUMBAI: While the Congress-led Karnataka government has approved ‘Lingayat’ as a separate religion in the cabinet, the BJP-led Maharashtra government has clearly ruled out special status to the community.
“I spoke to the chief minister on this issue and he has assured that the issue will be taken up in a meeting,” said Deshmukh.“Spiritual leaders of Shivaachaar community are not insisting on a separate religion.
Our main objective is to ensure that our sub-castes— Hindu Lingayat or Vani Lingayat — get benefits under the OBC or SBC category,” added Deshmukh.Tawde’s reply was on a question asked by BJP MLA Ashish Shelar and others on the Maharashtra government’s stand on the Lingayat reservation issue.
Tawde stated that the Union minorities development ministry, in response to a recommendation of the National Minorities Commission in May 2014, claimed that Veershaiva Lingayat is not a separate religion but only a sub-sect of the Hindu religion.Tawde also referred to a letter written to the state by the central office of the registrar general and census commissioner, which mentions how the Lingayat population was not enumerated as a separate religion in the 2011 census since it is only a subsect.Junior minister in the state government, Vijay Deshmukh, who is a Lingayat, told TOI that he will meet chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in this regard.
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