A Dalit family of Miyapur village in Koppal district, which was recently fined ₹25,000 after its two-year-old child entered a temple in the village, appears to be reluctant to take the issue forward.
As per the Koppal Police, the family refused to lodge a complaint against villagers who held a meeting on September 11 and imposed the fine on it for allowing the child to enter the temple.
“The family is not cooperative with the police and the administration. Just as we came to know about the incident, we rushed to the village and gathered complete information. Despite our persuasion, the family was not ready to file a complaint. Then, we had to have a meeting in the village on Saturday and asked people from all communities to enter the temple to offer puja,” Koppal Superintendent of Police T. Sridhar said.
As per information shared by the police and the villagers, the two-year-old child from Chennadasa community, a Scheduled Castes community, entered the village temple on September 4 when it was taken there by its father to offer puja from outside on the occasion of the child’s birthday.
The temple priest and two more people from the Ganiga community, a sub-caste of Lingayat, took objection to the child’s act as the entry of Dalits to the temple is prohibited. Later, they gathered some more people on their side and held a meeting on September 11 and imposed the fine on the child’s family. These people also said that the fine amount will be utilised for the purification of the temple which was polluted with the entry of the Dalit child.
The Dalit family which was unable to pay the fine amount approached community leaders who rushed to the village and also informed the police. Since the family was reluctant in lodging a complaint, the police did not register any First Information Report. However, they held a meeting of representatives of all the communities on the temple premises in the village and warned the villagers of stringent legal action upon repetition of such practices.
“It is a big village dominated by Ganiga Lingayat. There are only three Chennadasa families in the village. There are around 30 other Scheduled Castes families in the village. If we were to go ahead in pursuing the matter legally against upper caste people, it may have had an adverse impact on the Dalit families residing in the village. Moreover, imposing the fine on the Dalit family was not a collective decision of all Lingayat in the village. Only a couple of them took the decision which was later opposed by other Lingayat leaders themselves. Since the Lingayat leaders themselves accepted their offence and promised not to repeat it in future, we [Chennadasa community] decided to close the chapter there itself,” Ramalingappa Das, district president of Chennadasa Community organisation, told The Hindu .