CPI(M) begins indefinite dharna against the practice in Udupi

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has said that the State government should pass an ordinance banning the practices of Pankti Bheda (separate sitting arrangements for Brahmins during lunch) and Made Snana (where devotees of other castes roll on the leftovers of lunch by Brahmins) in temples in the State.

The party stage dharna to highlight the “discriminatory practices”, in Udupi and Mangalore on Monday.

In Udupi, the party launched an indefinite dharna near the Service Bus Stand here to protest against the ‘Pankti Bheda’ practiced at Sri Krishna Math/Temple, here. At the protest meet, G.V. Sriram Reddy, Secretary of the State unit of CPI(M), said that if the State government did not immediately issue an ordinance, the party would intensify its agitation on these issues. He said the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government was in favour of these practices and defended them. But it was surprising that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who spoke openly against discrimination, should remain mum on these issues, which perpetuated the discrimination.

He said that an assistant lecturer of School of Allied Health Sciences, Manipal University, Vanita Shetty, was prevented from having lunch and asked to leave the dinning hall of the Sri Krishna Math/Temple in full public view on April 15, because she was not a Brahmin.

Vishwesha Tirtha Swami of Pejawar Math went all around the country speaking against the caste system. But he had done nothing to prevent caste discrimination which was taking place at the Sri Krishna Math/Temple here.

The Pejawar seer should take steps to see that people of all castes had their meal together in the Krishna Math/Temple without any discrimination. Political parties were silent on this latest incident of ‘Pankti Bheda’ because of vote-bank politics, Mr. Reddy said.

Forum protests

Separately, K. Shivaramu, president of Karnataka State Backward Classes Awareness Forum (Karnataka Rajya Hindulida Vargagala Jagriti Vedike), said on Monday that it was distressing that practices such as pankti bheda and made snana were being practiced at Sri Krishna Math/Temple here. Both these practices should be banned immediately, he said.

He was speaking after garlanding the statue of 16th century saint-composer Sri Kanakadasa at the Kanakadasa shrine on Car Street, here.

Mr. Shivaramu said the practices were prevalent in temples under the Department of Muzrai. It was essential that the government passed an anti-superstition law banning such practices. “If the government did not ban these practices, the forum would launch an agitation,” he said.

In Mangalore, the party activists staged a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner.

Addressing a gathering K. Yadav Shetty, CPI(M) candidate in the Lok Sabha elections and general secretary of the district unit of Karnataka Prantha Raita Sangha, said the party wanted to know why the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was not talking about “discrimination in serving food”.

He said that senior Congress leader B. Janardhana Poojary took some progressive steps in Gokarnanatheswara temple at Kudroli but was not raising his voice against pankti bedha .

Vasantha Achary, a member of the district secretariat of the party, said that made snana practised at Kukke Subrahmanya temple and at some other temples should be stopped. He said that pankti bedha was the root cause for made snana .