Amid resistance, Dalit women taken inside temple

Updated - September 10, 2015 05:42 am IST

Published - September 10, 2015 12:00 am IST - Sigaranahalli (Hassan):

Officials hold a meeting with the residents of Sigaranahalli in Holenarsipur taluk on Tuesday night.— Photo: Prakash Hassan

Officials hold a meeting with the residents of Sigaranahalli in Holenarsipur taluk on Tuesday night.— Photo: Prakash Hassan

Amidst opposition from the ‘upper caste’ people, the Hassan district administration on Tuesday took two Dalit women inside the Basaveshwara Temple at Sigaranahalli in Holenarsipur taluk.

The ‘upper caste’ people refused to accept the appeal made by officers and MLA H.D. Revanna to allow Dalits into the temple and community hall, built using government funds.

The officers had organised a meeting to resolve the differences between the two sections.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Revanna said it was against the law to restrict the entry of Scheduled Castes into a temple or community hall. However, the ‘upper caste’ (Vokkaligas) argued that this would be against the custom followed for years. They maintained that they would not visit the temple or the community hall if Dalits entered it.

Last week, the ‘upper caste’ people had objected the entry of four Dalit women into the temple and imposed a penalty of Rs. 1,000 on the Stree Shakti Sangha, whose members had taken them there. The Scheduled Castes community, disappointed by the development, filed a complaint against those who opposed their entry into the temple. The Hindu had carried a report, following which the National Commission for Scheduled Castes directed the district administration to submit a report.

Earlier, the Dalits refused to attend the meeting citing that the police had not registered their complaint. They took part in the meeting after senior officers assured them that the complaint would be registered. The officers forcibly took the temple keys and allowed two Dalit women to enter the temple and offer prayers around 9 p.m. When the policemen offered to return the keys, the caretaker of the temple refused to take it stating that no ‘upper caste’ people would visit the temple from now onwards. Bhimashankar Guled, ASP, told the Dalits that the police would be deployed in the village and they could visit the temple whenever they wanted to.

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