Dalit rights activists urge the police to write to the government informing them that the ritual was a security hazard as it would hurt the sensibilities of the Dalits and the tribal people

With about a month to go for the “Made Snana” ritual, scheduled to be held in Kukke Subramanya Temple, Dalit rights activists have urged the police and the government to stop the practice as they deem it discriminatory.

The issue was raised at the monthly Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe grievance meeting held at the office of the Superintendent of Police here on Sunday.

Shekar L. from Belthangady said: “This discrimination is continuing in the name of tradition. If they (Bajrang Dal activists) can stop the Kulkunda cattle fair, which is being held for years, why can’t the government stop made snana?”

He urged the police to write to the government informing them that the ritual was a security hazard as it would hurt the sensibilities of the Dalits and the tribal people. Similarly, Dinesh Kumar from Sullia said that the government’s inaction would bear a testimony to its indirect support of the practice.

Abhishek Goyal, Superintendent of Police, Dakshina Kannada, said the district police had written to the Deputy Commissioner to clarify the government’s stand on the issue.

“We have to follow the government’s orders,” he said.

Security for women

Another issue raised at the meeting was the safety of women in the rural areas of the district, a worry heightened by the recent rape and murder of a student in Dharmasthala. Mahesh, a Dalit rights activist, said violence against women was increasing, and it was the poor who suffered the most.

“The poor took buses and walked to their houses. And with no policing, they became easy targets,” he said.

While agreeing that the number of complaints of harassment of women from rural places was high, Mr. Goyal said most of the complaints were not lodged, either because the victims were afraid of embarrassment or because the experience robbed them of their verve and nerve as well.

The change in the meeting timing from 11 a.m. to 9.30 a.m. irked the activists who only arrived after the meeting got over. They said they had not been informed of the change.

Activist Vishwanath from Bantwal said the local police station had not informed him of the change in the timings. Around six people had turned up from Bantwal to discuss their complaints with the police. “We kept all other work on hold to come here. The police should have communicated better,” he said.

Sadashiva of Farangipete and Narayan from Uppinangadi echoed a similar sentiment. “Why was the meeting held so early in the morning? It is inconvenient for someone from Sullia to leave the place at 7 in the morning to attend the meeting here,” said Mr. Narayan.

More In: Mangaluru