Drop Acharya from Cabinet for supporting ritual: Dalit forum

The leader of a backward classes organisation was assaulted here on Wednesday after demanding an end to a “casteist” ritual performed in the government-run Kukke Subrahmanya temple in Sullia taluk.

State president of the Karnataka Rajya Hindulida Vargagala Jagruta Vedike K.S. Shivaramu was assaulted by a group of around 10 people outside the temple after he met Assistant Commissioner of Puttur subdivision Sundar Bhat and submitted a memorandum urging the Dakshina Kannada administration to prohibit the ritual of ‘made snana'.

As Mr. Shivaramu was speaking to the media about the memorandum, a group of people surrounded him.

After he finished speaking, they began arguing with him. Soon the group began to rain blows on Mr. Shivaramu, who started running. He was chased, caught and thrashed again.

Though Mr. Shivaramu was given police protection, the police stepped in only after the group chased him and beat him up. The police then took him to the government hospital.

Before he was assaulted, Mr. Shivaramu said that the ritual of ‘made snana' was “inhuman” as well as “unscientific”. He said that it should be banned.

“But, before that, the practice of serving food inside the temple only for a particular caste should be stopped,” Mr. Shivaramu said. He added that the continuation of the practice “in the name of tradition and religion is being done to perpetuate superstitious beliefs”.

‘Will prepare report'

He said that he would prepare a fact-finding report on the ritual and send it to the President, and later petition the Supreme Court.

When presspersons went to Subrahmanya police station to speak to the police, Deputy Superintendent of Police M.B. Nagaraju said he did not know what had happened and that his junior officers were yet to report to him. However, when Vijaya Kumar, a member of the vedike who had accompanied Mr. Shivaramu, came to speak to Mr. Nagaraju, the latter shouted and asked Mr. Kumar “why he had started the trouble”.

What is ‘made snana'?

‘Made snana' is a harake (an offering to God in return for the granting of a wish). This particular harake involves rolling on plantain leaves containing leftovers of food consumed by Brahmins. Those who perform the ritual include Brahmins. The ritual is believed to cure skin diseases. It is performed annually during the Champa Shashti festival for three days.

Mr. Shivaramu has filed a complaint with the Subrahmanya police, who have registered a case under sections relating to rioting, hurt, and criminal intimidation. A counter complaint has been filed against Mr. Shivaramu by A.V. Nagesh, a local man, claiming that he was assaulted by the former.

‘Drop Acharya'

Bangalore Special Correspondent writes:

The Dalit Aikyata Vedike, a forum of various Dalit organisations in the State, on Wednesday urged Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda to drop Minister for Higher Education V.S. Acharya from the Cabinet for promoting blind beliefs that are detrimental to the interests of Dalits.

Accusing Dr. Acharya of supporting ‘made snana', State convener of the Dalit Sangarsh Samithi (Ambedkarvada) said the Minister was violating Constitution by promoting a ritual that humiliates Dalits.

Protesting against the attack on Mr. Shivaramu and demanding that the Chief Minister drop Dr. Acharya from the Cabinet, Dalits would stage a demonstration in front of the office of the Director-General and Inspector-General of Police on Thursday, he said.