Correspondent

CUTTACK: In a significant development towards eradicating ‘untouchability’ in society, a group of harijans led a rally to enter a Hindu temple in Satyabhamapur of the district on Wednesday. The group comprising both upper caste and lower caste people had a community feast inside the premises of Chateswar Temple of the locality that was built in 1211 AD.

The rally was organised to mark the 75th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s Harijan Padayatra in the area. It may be recalled here that the Mahatma visited the area 75 years ago in 1934 to conduct a padayatra for removal of untouchability.

Like the legendary padayatra held 75 years ago, the recent padayatra organised by Rashtriya Yuva Sangathan began from Bairi railway station on November 30. Snaking its way through Chhatia, Champapur, Bheda, Lekhanpur, Rameshwar and Kishinapur, the rally reached Utkal Gourav Madhu Babu’s native village Satyabhamapur on Tuesday.

“On Wednesday, as per the plan, the group which comprised mainly women folks from lower strata of society entered the historic temple and offered pujas. All members of the rally also had a feast inside the premises cutting across the social stigma of caste line,” said Biswajit, an organiser of the rally.

Delegates from Rashtriya Yuva Sangathan, Utkal Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, Kasturba Gandhi Rashtriya Smarak Trust and Antodaya Chetana Mandal participated in the rally which was also joined by veteran Gandhian Subba Rao, Kumar Prashant, Radha Bhatt, Justice Choudhury Pratap Keshari Mishra and BJP leaders Choudhury Pravat Keshari Mishra and Dilip Kumar Mallick.