Narendra Modi government on Friday dropped the proposal of Karnataka’s demand for a separate flag and granting of minority status for Lingayats citing proposals were approved by the previous government. Now, the newly elected government led by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy will be required to send a fresh request regarding the same.
The Congress government led by Siddaramaiah had approved the proposals for a separate flag and minority tag for Lingayats just weeks before the Karnataka assembly election was announced.
The Congress party securing 78 seats in the Karnataka assembly has formed an alliance with JD(S), who secured 38 seats to form the government. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has emerged as the largest party in the state elections.
According to a senior official of Home Ministry, the demands of the Karnataka government were under process until last week but after formation of a new government, it was examined that a new proposal was necessary before proceeding the matter further.
“While the proposal to declare Lingayats as a minority was sent to Ministry of Minority Affairs, the discussion for a separate flag to be used on occasions like the state’s raising day was under inter-ministerial consultations,” said a senior Home Ministry official to Indian Express.
In the proposed official flag unveiled by Siddaramaiah, there was a hue of yellow, white and red, and with an emblem of ‘Gandaberunda’, a two-headed mythological bird. The move by the Congress government aimed to tap into local Kannada pride in the election.
As per the rules and regulations of The Flag Code of India, 2001 and the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005, recommends only the Tricolour. The said Act doesn’t mention any other flag. Under Article 370, only the state of Jammu and Kashmir has a separate flag. Paramilitary forces like CRPF, BSF and the state police have separate flags but are only used on the occasions like foundation day.
The Home Ministry also opposed the demand of providing the minority tag to Lingayats.
“Any move to declare Lingayats/Veershaiva as an independent religion would have widespread implications. Arya Samaj, Radhaswami, Vaishnava and a few other sects of the Hinduism also do not adhere to typical Brahminical Hinduism. All these sects may line up to be declared as separate religious entities. Moreover, Lingayat, if treated as a separate religion, would be deprived of the status of schedule cast which can only be for Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists,” the Home Ministry had observed in an internal note, reports IE.