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Dalits enter temple under tight security

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Joining the mainstream: Dalits performing puja in Chennakeshava Swamy temple of Kallumadi village in Anantapur.
Joining the mainstream: Dalits performing puja in Chennakeshava Swamy temple of Kallumadi village in Anantapur.

Staff Reporter

Police picket set up to prevent untoward incidents

Officials warn village elders of severe action if they try to create trouble

Overjoyed Dalits, on entry into the temple, offer special prayers

ANANTAPUR: Tension prevailed in Kallumadi village in Singanamala mandal in the district on Monday, as Dalits of the village were allowed entry into the temple in the presence of several district officials. Entry into the Chennakeshava Swamy temple was not allowed to them in the name of age-old tradition and customs.

However, an educated youth mobilised the Dalits of the village and created awareness among them.

They insisted upon entry into the temple about a week back during the replacement of flag on the dhwaja sthambham, an annual ritual carried out by one among them every year.

But, the people of other castes in the village opposed the move leading to a tense atmosphere in the village.

Officials visited the village twice during the period and tried to strike a rapprochement between the two sides explaining the law position. But, the two sides were firm on their stand.

The officials were even learnt to have urged the Dalits that they would be ensured entry immediately after the elections and urged them to have patience till then.

Women of other castes in the villages were also on the warpath and they protested by holding kerosene filled cans, threatening to immolate themselves if Dalits enter the temple. But, the Dalits remained determined, forcing the district administration to intervene. Accordingly, a team of district officials led by Joint Collector T. Chiranjeevulu, Additional SP M. Chandrasekhar, Revenue Divisional Officer of Anantapur M. Gowthami, Anantapur DSP B. Satyanarayana Rao and others visited the village on Monday and allowed temple entry to the Dalits.

A police picket was also set up in the village to prevent untoward incidents. The district officials warned the village elders that action would be taken against them as per law, if they tried to create any trouble over the issue.

Overjoyed Dalits, who secured entry into the temple for the first time, offered special prayers.


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