Karnataka

Violence in Sigaranahalli over entry of Dalits into temple

Following the violence, additional police force was deployed at Sigaranahalli in Holenarsipur taluk of Hassan district. Photo: By Special Arrangement

Following the violence, additional police force was deployed at Sigaranahalli in Holenarsipur taluk of Hassan district. Photo: By Special Arrangement

Violence broke out in Sigaranahalli in Holenarsipur taluk of Hassan on Friday, following the upper castes’ opposition to Dalits entering the Basaveshwara temple in the village. The angry mob assaulted the Assistant Commissioner, two journalists and about 10 policemen, besides pelting stones at police vehicles.

Superintendent of Police R.K. Shahapurwad deployed additional police force, and they had to resort to lathi-charge and fire teargas shells to disperse the irate crowd. The district administration has imposed prohibitory orders in the village to bring the situation under control.

The officials were present in the village on Friday as the Dalits had submitted a memorandum to the district administration demanding that they be allowed to enter the temple and participate in the Durga Parameshwari Jatra Mahotsava, an annual event beginning on Friday. People of seven villages participate in the festival. The Dalits wanted to be allowed to take part in the festival on a par with upper caste people.

The district officials first held a meeting with representatives of Dalit families. Then they held a meeting with representatives of the upper caste people, which escalated into heated arguments and ultimately violence. The angry mob surrounded the officials, including Assistant Commissioner Vijaya, who was assaulted in the milieu.

Two journalists — Krishnamurthy and Vasanth — were also assaulted. The mob threw stones at the police, in which nearly 10 policemen suffered injuries. The police officials, led by Additional SP Shobha Rani struggled to bring the situation under control.

Dalit women made to pay penalty

Last year, the village was divided on caste lines when a few Dalit women were asked to pay a penalty for entering the temple. This led to a series of peace meetings in the village. Despite opposition from the upper caste people, the district officials took the Dalits into the temple in September 2015. Soon after, the temple was closed as upper caste people refused to enter it alleging that its sanctity had been lost.

It was reopened by upper caste people on March 25 this year, and they performed rituals to ‘purify’ the temple, in the run-up to the Durga Parameshwari Jatra.


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Printable version | Oct 4, 2022 8:59:36 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/violence-in-sigaranahalli-over-entry-of-dalits-into-temple/article8424743.ece