After Lingayats, Kodavas demand minority religion status in Karnataka

Bengaluru: Two days after the Karnataka government accorded minority religion tag to the dominant community Lingayats, Kodavas, a martial race from the coffee growing district of Kodagu has demanded that they should too be declared as a religious minority.
On March 22, a memorandum was submitted to state minorities department on behalf of the community by M M Bansy and Vijay Muthappa. The department has forwarded the demand to Karnataka State Minorities Commission.
The memorandum said , the Kodavas deserve the tag since their population is less than 1.5 lakh and the Centre has considered to include Kodava thakk, the Kodava language without a script, in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution and a notification has been issued to initiate the process.
“We are nature worshippers and donโ€™t follow many customs of the Hindu religion. None of our rituals involve Brahmin priests and all their scriptures are in their own language.. We also have distinct costumes and pork is our staple diet,” they said in their memorandum, justifying the demand.
Supporting the demand, Kodagu Natural Sciences Society president Lt. Gen. B C Nanda said that Kodavas inhabited Kodagu 2,000 years ago and the first recorded instance of Kodavas was found in 1174 AD during Hoysala dynasty in the state.
“Kodagu was a tiny independent state ruled by the Haleri (lingayat) kings till 1830s. The British annexed Kodagu and ruled it separately till 1947. After that it was declared as “Cโ€™” state and CM Poonacha was its first and last chief minister. On November 1, 1956 it became a part of Karnataka,” Nanda said
“Kodava is the only community that has lineage based clan system. They too have a sacret text called pattole palame, a record of the distinct culture, compiled in the late 19th century by Nadikerianda Chinnappa,” said some Kodava leaders.
Some Kodava activists are also demanding that they should at least get an autonomous hill council status on the lines of Gurkha Hill Council (GHC).
Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has also favoured autonomous status to Kodagu and promised to place a private bill in the parliament. During his visit to Kodagu recently, Swamy, a Rajya Sabha MP, said the demand for autonomy for Kodagu was perfectly justified to protect their race, community, traditions and customs. He had promised to extend his support not only for autonomy to Kodagu, but also the inclusion of the Kodava language in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution.

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