A campaign demanding that the ‘Lingayat dharma' be granted the status of a religion was launched at a function organised by the Lingayat Dharma Mahasabha and Rashtriya Basava Dal here on Thursday.
Addressing the gathering, honorary president of the mahasabha Mathe Mahadevi said Lingayat dharma was independent from “Brahminical Hinduism”, and deserved the status of a religion, similar to Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism.
She urged Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa to take a decision in this regard and recommend that the Centre discuss the issue in Parliament.
Besides, the Government should withdraw the circulars directing tahsildars to issue caste certificates to Lingayats as ‘Veerashaiva Lingayats' as Veerashaiva Lingayat is only a sub-caste of Lingayat dharma, she said.
She also called upon members of the community to mention their religion only as ‘Lingayat dharma' in Census 2011.
In his address, Lingayat Panchamasali Peetha seer Jaya Mrutyunjaya Swami called upon Lingayats not to promote elements creating divisions among the community. He accused the former Chief Minister the late D. Devaraj Urs of engineering divisions among the community to gain political mileage.
The mahasabha will organise rallies across the State in support of their demand. They will be held in Bangalore (January 25), Bellary (January 31), Gulbarga (February 2), Bidar (February 4) and Belgaum (February 8).