Dalits Enter Temple in Karnataka Under Police Protection
In a shocking incident, four women belonging to a Dalit community were fined Rs 1000 last week for entering a temple.
In the face of opposition from a higher caste in Sigaranahalli in Hassan district, a group of Dalits entered the Basavershawara temple under police protection on Tuesday.
The police have been trying to mediate in the stand-off between the “upper cast” and Dalits without much success.
The Hindu reported that people belonging to a higher caste refused to accept the appeal made by officers and MLA HD Revanna to allow Dalits into the temple and community hall which was built using government funds.
Revanna who addressed a meeting arranged by the official told the people that it was a breach of law to restrict entry of Dalits into a temple or community hall.
According to The Hindu report, the Vokkaliga community refused to visit the temple or the community hall if Dalits entered it as they thought that it would be against the custom followed for years.
Last week, four women belonging to a Dalit community were fined Rs 1000 by the Vokkaliga community for entering Basaveshwara temple at Sigaranahalli for a special puja held on behalf of Sri Basaveshwara Stree Shakti Sangha on August 31. However, the women refused to pay the fine.
The Hindu report said that the Dalits initially refused to attend the meeting because they accused the police of not registering their complaint. Later 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 pm. 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 onward, said The Hindu report.
The newspaper reported that Bhimashankar Guled, ASP, assured the Dalits that the police would be stationed in the village to control tempers between the two communities.
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