Nearly 3,000 members of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) from different parts of the State held a public meeting and later took out a rally against “pankti bheda” (different seating arrangements for Brahmins and non-Brahmins during meals) and “jati bheda” (caste discrimination) at the Sri Krishna Math/Temple, here on Thursday.

They took out a rally from the Martyr's Memorial at Ajjarkad. The rally passed through the main streets of the town such as Taluk Office Road, Court Road, Kavi Muddana Road and Head Post Office and reached the S.M.S.P. Sanskrit College, where they were stopped by the police. The police arrested them and later released them.

Earlier, speaking at the public meeting, State secretary of the CPI(M) and former MLA G.V. Srirama Reddy said that practices such as “made snana” (where members of lower castes roll over plantain leaves containing the leftovers of Brahmins after their meals) and “pankti bheda” only showed that caste system existed in society. The statement of Higher Education Minister V.S. Acharya that skin diseases could be cured by “made snana” was the height of stupidity and superstition. “If that is so why should not Brahmins roll over the leaves? Why not close all the dermatology clinics in the State? It is shocking that Dr. Acharya, a trained physician, should be saying such things,” he said.

The statement of Vishwesha Tirtha Swamiji of Pejawar Math that people were participating in “made snana” on their own and it was not forced on them, was baffling. CPI (M) leader G.N. Nagaraj said that “pankti bheda” was being followed to keep the working classes segregated. The Pejawar seer had said that though he was against “pankti bheda”, the orthodox Brahmins were for it and he could not do anything about it. This only reinforced the caste system.

The seer's other statement that he would choose “shastras” (religious texts) over the Constitution was uncalled for, he said.

  • 3,000 members take out rally, hold public meeting

  • Acharya's statement on ‘made snana' criticised