Prafulla Das

Any Hindu can enter any temple: court

  • Police pickets have been posted near the temple
  • Priests leave the shrine

    BHUBANESWAR: The Dalits of Keredagada village in Orissa's Kendrapara district entered the Lord Jagannath temple of their village on Thursday despite stiff opposition from the caste Hindus of the area.

    The entry of the Dalits into the 300-year-old temple was smooth and trouble-free. One platoon of policemen was on duty near the temple when five Dalits entered the temple and had darshan of the deities around at 12.25 p.m. Senior officials of the administration were also present.

    However, tension started building up when more and more Dalits from Keredagada and nearby hamlets started visiting the temple and the priests left the shrine, resulting in non-performance of the rituals.

    Official sources said the priests and servitors left the temple following instructions from the upper caste people, who have since decided to hold a meeting on Friday to decide their stand.

    The Dalits were able to muster the courage to enter the temple following a recent order of the High Court, which said that any Hindu, irrespective of his caste, could enter any Hindu temple.

    The High Court passed the order while disposing of a public interest litigation petition filed by a lawyer seeking protection for the Dalits seeking entry into the Keredagada temple.

    Dalit movement

    The Dalit movement for gaining entry into the temple had begun when four Dalit girls were humiliated for entering the temple on November 5, 2005.

    The leaders of Ambedkar-Lohia Vichar Manch, which was spearheading the movement, were not present when the Dalit men went inside the temple.

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