Dalits finally gain entry to Basaveshwara temple

For the last eight months, the Dalits of the village have been demanding entry into the temple.

Updated - November 17, 2021 01:54 am IST

Published - April 25, 2016 12:38 am IST - Hassan

Hassan Karnataka April 24.
Dalits offered prayers at Basaveshwara Temple at Sigaranahalli in Holenarasipur taluk on Sunday. Photo by Special Arrangement.

Hassan Karnataka April 24.
 Dalits offered prayers at Basaveshwara Temple at Sigaranahalli in Holenarasipur taluk on Sunday. Photo by Special Arrangement.

Dalits of Sigaranahalli in Holenarsipur taluk offered prayers at the Basaveshwara Temple on Sunday as around 30 members from the Dalit colony entered the temple, at 10 a.m. However, the “upper castes” stayed away from the temple on Sunday .

For the last eight months, the Dalits of the village have been demanding entry into the temple.

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.

Following the protests, the district administration, on Saturday, took over the administration of the temple. Holenarsipur tahsildar Renu Kumar conducted the mahajar; they took into custody the valuables in the temple in presence of five persons, including two from the Dalit colony. Later, it was announced that from Sunday the temple would be open between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. and between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. every day.

An employee of Hariharpura Gram Panchayat has been given the responsibility of opening the temple at the fixed hours. R.K. Shahapurwad, Superintendent of Police, Hassan and senior officers were present.

Somanna, deputy tahsildar of Halekote hobli, told The Hindu : “We have conveyed the arrangements made for temple visits to the villagers. As of now there is no priest; the devotees have to just go there and offer prayers. The process of handing over the temple to the Muzrai Department will be taken up soon,” he said.

The community hall, which was known as Vokkaliga Samudaya Bhavan all these years, will now be called Samudaya Bhavan.

None from the “upper caste” families visited the temple on Sunday morning. Officials present at the temple confirmed that only Dalits came to the temple. The police had been deployed in the village.

Last year in September, the district administration escorted Dalits into the temple, amidst protests from the “upper castes.” Since then the temple was kept locked, as the “upper castes” felt it had become “impure” with the entry of Dalits. Purification rituals were conducted on March 25 before the annual Durga Parameshwari festival.

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