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Lingayats Revive Demand for Separate Religion Status in Karnataka

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Lingayats Revive Demand for Separate Religion Status in Karnataka
HT: (File Photo)

Karnataka: Lingayats, a prominent community in the southern state of Karnataka, are reviving their demand for a separate religion status. The community has planned a protest in Bengaluru on February 20, with various organizations participating in it, to voice their demand. Channabasavananda Swami, the honorary president of the Akhila Bharat Lingayata Samanvaya Samiti, said that the previous Congress government had sent a recommendation to the Union government for a separate religious status for the Lingayats, but it was sent back. Now, with the BJP government in power at both the state and the Centre, the seer wants the chief minister to send the recommendation again and get the approval.

Swami highlighted that the Supreme Court has said that Hinduism is not a religion, but a lifestyle and that Sikhism and Jainism have separate religious status with a history of 500 and 900 years respectively. Hence, he questioned why the Lingayats, with a history of 900 years, should not have a separate religion status. He also demanded that Basavanna, the cultural leader of Karnataka, should be declared as such and Kalaburgi University should be renamed as Basaveshwara University.

The state government has carved out two new categories, 2C and 2D, for the Lingayats and Vokkaligas, whose reservation demands will be met out of a portion of the 10% Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota. However, the Panchamasali Lingayats, a sub-sect of the community, have rejected the offer and have warned of consequences in the upcoming assembly elections.

Political analyst Chambi Puranik said that the BJP will not take a divisive approach, and it is probable that the party will adjust the excess 10% EWS quota to pacify the Lingayats. He pointed out that the BJP is a party that stands for Hindus and Lingayats are also part of the Hindutva tradition. The party’s high command knows the ground reality and would not want to go against the sentiments of the majority of Lingayats, who are the base voters of the party. Without their support, the BJP cannot remain in power.

Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s decision to separate Lingayats from Veerashaivas by proposing a Lingayat religion was seen as an effort to woo the support of the dominant community away from the BJP, but the Congress received a backlash from the community and the party’s defeat in the 2018 assembly elections was partly attributed to this. The demand for a separate religion status by the Lingayats is a complex issue, and it remains to be seen how the government and the political parties will respond to it.

Karnataka

Karnataka Council Passes FAR Amendment Bill

Karnataka Council approves FAR Bill amidst uproar. Premium FAR capped at 0.4%, Transferable Development Rights at 0.6%.

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Karnataka Council Passes FAR Amendment Bill
(Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar | File Photo PTI )

The Legislative Council approved the bill enabling the sale and purchase of premium Floor Area Ratio (FAR) despite the BJP members staging a walkout during the session on Thursday.

Presented by Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, who oversees Bengaluru City Development, the Karnataka Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Bill 2024 received passage in the Council after its prior approval in the Assembly. This legislation permits developers to augment building floors by acquiring additional FAR through a fee payment equivalent to 40% of the guidance value, as sanctioned by local planning authorities. Furthermore, the bill sanctions the sale of FAR.

According to Shivakumar, the inclusion of premium FAR provision is anticipated to augment the revenues of local planning authorities, enabling investment in developmental endeavors. The premium FAR allotment is capped at 0.4%, with Transferable Development Rights limited to 0.6%.

The bill mandates that the proceeds from premium FAR fees be allocated towards land acquisition and the enhancement of basic amenities. Presently, FAR determination hinges on factors like road width, zoning regulations, and other pertinent parameters.

Expressing concerns, BJP MLCs cautioned against potential traffic congestion arising from the proliferation of buildings due to additional FAR. They proposed referring the matter to a select House committee for comprehensive deliberation, while some members advocated for an in-depth discussion before tabling the bill.

Shivakumar defended the legislation, asserting its simplification aimed at benefiting all stakeholders and bolstering the revenues of local planning authorities. He underscored that the previous BJP administration under Basavaraj Bommai had intentions to amend this law.

“We’ve introduced certain amendments to the law. Premium FAR has been operational in Mangaluru for some time now, generating approximately Rs 3,000 crore in additional revenue over the past six years. This amendment extends the same benefit to the entire state,” remarked Shivakumar.

However, BJP members opposed the bill and subsequently staged a walkout from the Council.

In addition, the Council ratified the BBMP Property Tax Amendment Bill, which previously received approval in the Assembly.

Shivakumar elucidated that the bill aimed to rectify an oversight from the previous government, which led to substantial penalties on property owners. He highlighted that the 15th Finance Commission stipulated the release of grants contingent upon property tax aligning with the guidance value, necessitating the introduction of this amendment bill.

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Karnataka

Forest personnel in Karnataka search for leopard, find dog

Forest officials in Rajarajeshwari Nagar were on high alert on Monday and Tuesday in response to reports of leopard sightings from concerned residents.

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Forest personnel in Karnataka search for leopard, find dog
(Representational Image)

Forest officials in Rajarajeshwari Nagar were on high alert on Monday and Tuesday in response to reports of leopard sightings from concerned residents. However, their efforts were met with an unexpected discovery. Despite the urgency of the calls, upon investigation, officials determined that the alleged leopard was, in fact, a dog.

Responding to multiple calls from RR Nagar residents who claimed to have seen a leopard in their vicinity on February 11 and later on February 19, forest personnel conducted a thorough search operation. However, their efforts yielded no evidence of a big cat prowling the area.

Even as some residents maintained night vigils in hopes of catching a glimpse of the elusive creature, no leopard was sighted. The situation escalated when residents of a local apartment complex shared CCTV footage capturing an animal moving along the road, albeit unclearly.

With concerns mounting, residents promptly alerted forest authorities, presuming the creature to be a leopard. Forest officials mobilized their resources for a comprehensive search, only to discover that the supposed leopard was, in reality, a domestic dog.

The incident highlights the importance of accurate identification and prompt response in wildlife management, even in urban areas where encounters with wildlife are rare but not unheard of.

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Karnataka

Karnataka mandates state anthem for all schools

The Kannada & Culture Department reversed its decision, now mandating all schools to sing the state anthem. Confusion stemmed from a “printing mistake.

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Karnataka mandates state anthem for all schools
(Representative Image:tclnigerialtd)

The Kannada and Culture Department, which previously issued an order excluding private schools from singing the state anthem during assemblies, has now reversed its decision. In a new government order issued on Wednesday, it has been clarified that all schools, including private ones, should sing the state anthem. Kannada and Culture Minister Shivaraj Tangadagi attributed the confusion to a “printing mistake.”

The issue was brought up in the Assembly by Leader of Opposition R Ashoka, who questioned the initial order’s intention of excluding private schools from including the state anthem, “Jaya Bharatha Jananiya Thanujathe,” penned by Kuvempu, in their assemblies. He expressed bewilderment at why private schools were being excluded from the purview of the education department.

Ashoka criticized the officials for such decisions and expressed frustration with Minister Tangadagi’s apparent lack of control over them. The BJP state president BY Vijayendra demanded an apology from the state government, citing a recent attempt by an official from the Social Welfare Department to alter Kuvempu’s slogan in residential schools as another instance of disrespect towards the poet.

Senior BJP MLA Suresh Kumar emphasized the Kannada and Culture Department’s responsibility to safeguard the Kannada language and questioned the rationale behind such orders. Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao downplayed the issue, stating that it was a minor matter that has already been rectified, but his statement was met with condemnation from BJP members.

Tangadagi clarified that the confusion arose during the preparation of the government order, where the term “all schools” was inadvertently changed, leading to the exclusion of private schools. He termed it a “printing mistake” and assured that it has been rectified. Law Minister HK Patil acknowledged the lapse and promised action against those responsible for the error. The latest government order issued by the department now includes all schools, irrespective of their ownership status.

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