Santosh Kumar, Additional Superintendent of Police, said on Saturday that the district police would take immediate steps to end all discriminatory practices against the members of the Dalit community in all marriage halls of the district. He was chairing a meeting held to redress the grievances of the Dalit community organised by the district police, here.

Mr. Kumar said that all Deputy Superintendents of Police should hold a meeting of owners of all marriage halls (‘kalyana mantapas’) in all the three police sub-divisions and warn them against practicing or encouraging any discrimination when marriages, baby showers or other functions of Dalit community were held in their marriage halls. Senior Dalit leaders should also be invited to participate in these meetings held by marriage hall owners, he said.

Earlier, Jayan Malpe, DSS leader, said that a Brahmin priest and some women cleaners boycotted a marriage ceremony of Sakamma, president of Gangolli Gram Panchayat because she belonged to a lower caste, at Trasi in Kundapur taluk on June 5. The police were slow in taking action against the accused. Even when they took action, the accused were booked under lenient sections. The accused had managed to get bail, he said.

But Yashodha S.V., Deputy Superintendent of Police, said that the owner of the hall Sridhar Ganiga had immediately arranged another priest and the marriage ceremony was performed on the same day. The police had taken quick action in the matter, she said.

But this did not pacify the Dalit leaders, who said that Ms. Yashodha was not prompt in responding to cases of atrocities against Dalits. They said that she should be suspended and departmental action should be initiated against her or she should be transferred out of Udupi district. But Ms. Yashodha said that she had discharged her duties sincerely.

Vishwanath Petri, Dalit leader, said that the supervisory council of the Brahmalingeshwara Temple at Kadur village near Brahmavar had practiced untouchability when a baby shower ceremony of a Dalit woman was held at its marriage hall on July 5.

Instead of using their normal servants, the council had hired migrant workers for cleaning purposes during the baby shower ceremony. This amounted to untouchability. Though no police complaint had been filed by the Dalit woman, the police should take action in the matter, he said. Mr. Kumar said that the police would investigate the issue. Mr. Malpe said that many migrant workers from other districts and states were falsely claiming that they were Dalits and were taking caste certificates from the taluk offices in the district. Immediate action should be taken to stop issuing caste certificates to them.

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