Panchamasali Lingayats intensify stir seeking OBC-2A status

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Bengaluru, Feb 21 (PTI): The Panchamasali Lingayat community intensified their agitation on Sunday to seek OBC- 2A status with thousands of people thronging the city to press for the demand.

The agitators wanted to lay siege to the Vidhana Soudha, the seat of power, but due to the intervention of the police and the Karnataka Ministers, the members of the community converged on Freedom Park.

On a call given by Basava Jaya Mrutyunjaya, the seer of the Kudalasangama Panchamasali Lingayat Peeth, people arrived here from across the state seeking the OBC-2A category status.

The Seer has said he would hold a fast-unto-death from March 4 if the demand was not met.

'We are marching to lay siege to Vidhana Soudha. We will hold sit-in demonstrations till March 4, after which we will be compelled to hold a fast-unto-death, the seer told the gathering at the Palace Ground here in thousands.

The spiritual leader had begun his 450-km walk on January 14, when the agitation began, from Kudalasangama in Bagalkote, a pilgrimage centre of Lingayat community. The seer reached Bengaluru today.

The agitation was backed by the rebel BJP MLA from Vijayapura Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, who told reporters on the sidelines of the agitation that Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has to agree to the demand as he cannot put it on hold for long.

Banners and posters of the seers and other supporters and leaders of the movement dotted the Palace Ground where people raised slogans seeking justice to the community.

In view of the protest, two Ministers Murugesh Nirani and C C Patil, both belonging to the ruling BJP, persuaded the seer to give up the agitation but he would not.

Later, the city police commissioner Kamal Pant tried to convince the seer to call off the plan to besiege the Vidhana Soudha as it was going to be unruly but the seer did not agree.

Then, the police officer ordered imposing section 144 of the CrPC in and around the Vidhana Soudha as many important offices such as the High Court, Vidhana Soudha and the commissioners office were located there.

The prohibitory orders did not stop the agitators from marching ahead.

They broke the barricade put up by police and had a confrontation with the men in khakis.

The stalemate at the Cauvery junction continued.

Various communities across the state have been demanding reservations and upgradation of their status: The communities include Kurubas (shepherds), who have been demanding SC status, and the Valmikis, who come under ST, want increase in the reservation.

Now, the Vokkaligas too have raised their voice demanding more quota. PTI GMS NVG NVG