Dalits and temple entry in Tamil Nadu

The Ariyalur temple controversy joins a long list of issues surrounding entry of Dalits into worship places in Tamil Nadu. A look at similar incidents in the recent years.

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:07 pm IST

Published - August 01, 2016 06:39 pm IST - Chennai

Ariyalur temple dispute - July 2016

Ariyalur district administration has clamped prohibitory orders at Silambur Therkku village near Andimadam following differences between a section of Vanniyars and Dalits over worship at the local Ayyanar temple. The village temple, administered by the HR&CE Department, was sealed and police personnel deployed. The temple with deities of Ayyanar, Veeranar and Muniyanar has been worshipped by over two generations of people, said official sources. Members of the Scheduled Caste have been worshipping Veeranar, while Vanniyars worshipped all the three deities. >Read more

Threats to convert to Islam - July 2016

A section of Dalits of Pazhag Kallimedu in Nagapattinam reiterated its decision to convert to Islam if the State government failed to get them the right to host mandagapadi (sponsoring a day’s event) rights as part of the temple festival of Sri Badrakaliamman Temple. Following a failure in talks initiated by the State government to end the stalemate, the Collector clamped a ban on the annual Aadi festival the temple. Efforts were made by officials to engage caste Hindus (Pillaimars) and the Dalits in peace talks amid tight security. >Read more

13 types of discrimination alleged - July 2016

Alleging that they faced 13 types of discrimination during the annual Sri Muthumariamman Temple festival, Dalits of ‘Maravetti’ Karisalkulam in Manamadurai police station limits have sought the intervention of the district administration and police to ensure that they were allowed to celebrate the festival with equal rights and on a par with caste Hindus. The Dalits alleged that they were not allowed to contribute (Rs. 1,300 per family) for the festival and denied permission to take part in some important events such as ‘mulaipaari eduththal’ (taking sprouts or germination of nine grains in pots), the major event in the 10-day long festival, which begins on August 2. >Read more

Uthapuram controversy - October 2015

Dalits offered puja to the Pipal tree at the Muthalamman Temple amidst objection by the Caste Hindus. After the intervention of the High Court, the district administration reversed prohibitory orders against the temple festival. After permission was given to Dalits to offer prayers, an earthen idol of Muthalamman was brought in procession from Elumalai. >Read more

Tarun Vijay attacked - May 2016

BJP leader Tarun Vijay and a Dalit leader were attacked by a mob this year after they visited a temple in Chakrata in Uttarakhand. Mr. Vijay was on a campaign to allow Dalits in the temples in the Jaunsar-Bawar region. However, locals said that while Dalits were allowed in the Silgur Devta temple, Daulat Kunwar, a BSP leader from Chakrata accompanying Mr. Vijay, instigated the mob outside, which led to a scuffle between the villagers and the MP. >Read more

Basaveshwara temple issue - April 2016

After repeated demands for entry into the Basaveshwara temple in Sigaranahalli in Holenarsipur taluk in Karnataka, Dalits were allowed to enter the temple and offer prayers. However, the “upper castes” stayed away from the temple on that day. In September 2015, “upper caste” members of the village imposed a fine on four Dalit women for entering the temple. Since then, the Dalits have held protests, seeking entry into the temple and the village community hall. >Read more

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