Hotel gets closure notice for denying entry to Dalits

It is situated on the premises of a Muzrai temple in Hassan district

Updated - November 22, 2021 09:40 pm IST

Published - September 21, 2021 04:58 pm IST - Hassan

A temple at Dindagur in Channarayapatna taluk of Hassan district.

A temple at Dindagur in Channarayapatna taluk of Hassan district.

Following a complaint from Dalits of Dindagur in Channarayapatna taluk, the Hassan district administration has issued a notice for closure of a hotel in the village for practicing untouchability.

The owner of the hotel, situated in the premises of a Muzrai temple, allegedly did not allow Dalits to enter the premises, and served food to them outside while others were allowed inside.

Santhosh D.D., who has earned a diploma in theatre from Neenasam at Heggodu in Shivamogga district, said that the hotelier had been practicing untouchability since he opened the hotel a couple of years ago.

“I happened to visit the hotel to meet a friend, who was having food inside. As I stepped in, the owner stopped me. He told me that people of my caste are not allowed inside. I was shocked,” he said.

In a village of over 500 houses, around 60 houses belong to Dalits. Vokkaligas, Lingayats are among other castes that residents of the village belong to.

Educated young Dalits of the village have taken the issue of discrimination against them seriously. With the help of the Bhim Army, an organisation working for the downtrodden, they submitted memorandums to the taluk administration and officeials seeking action against the hotelier, besides demanding entry into temples in the village.

The village has three Muzrai temples and one private temple.

“All these years, elders of our families used to stand outside the temples and offer prayers. After the hotel incident, we have resolved to enter the temples to put an end to the practice of untouchability in our village,” said D.N. Nataraj, a Dalit youth.

Channarayapatna tahsildar J.B. Maruthi and other taluk-level officers visited Dindagur on September 20 to discuss the issue with all stake-holders. Except the Dalits, no one attended the meeting.

Mr. Maruthi said, “We have issued a notice for closure of the hotel. The administration will not allow anybody to continue the practice of untouchability.”

Regarding entry to temples, Mr. Maruthi said, “I spoke to a few villagers who said they neither stopped Dalits from entering temples nor opposed it. We will fix a day soon for their entry into temples, in the presence of a police force to avoid any untoward incident. We are hopeful that there would not be any opposition,” he said.

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