They seek a ban on the annual ritual, condemn attack on Shivaramu

People of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes at a meeting with Dakshina Kannada Superintendent of Police here on Sunday, said the Government should ban the three-day annual made snana, a religious ritual, at Kukke Subrahmanya temple.

It was a ritual of people rolling on left over food consumed by Brahmins on plantain leaves to fulfil a vow.

The participants at the meeting alleged that the attack on K.S. Shivaramu, leader of a backward classes forum at the temple town, on November 30, was pre-planned.

Condemning the attack, they demanded Superintendent of Police Labhu Ram to take action against erring police officials who “failed to prevent the attack”.

They questioned the temple administration reportedly of extending a hero's welcome to the assailants upon their release on bail when they returned to the temple on Friday. The assailants were said to be members of Malekudiya community, a Scheduled Tribe.

The speakers said that some forces were attempting to divide Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes people and making them fight among themselves. Malekudiya people were innocent and had fallen to the designs of such forces, they said.

L. Shekar, president, Dalita Hakkugala Horata Samiti, Belthangady taluk, alleged that a sub-inspector of police and a police inspector who had escorted Mr. Shivaramu, president, Karnataka Rajya Hindulida Vargagala Jagruta Vedike, failed to prevent the attack. He said that action should be taken against Nagaraju, Deputy Superintendent of Police, who reportedly used abusive language against Mr. Shivaramu.

Mr. Shekar questioned why Brahmins should be served separate lunch at the temple. Criticising it, he said that if it continued people from other castes would sit with them next year.

S.P. Anand, organising secretary, Dalit Sangarsha Samiti (Ambedkar Vada), Dakshina Kannada, and P. Keshava, convener, Dalit Sangarsha Samiti (Bheema Vada), Dakshina Kannada, questioned the alleged inaction of police on the spot during the attack. They alleged that the attack was planned.

Mr. Ram said the Additional Superintendent of Police Prabhakara was conducting an inquiry into the allegations against the Dy. SP. The Superintendent of Police insisted the police did not anticipate an attack and managed to rescue Mr. Shivaramu from the assailants.