In another instance of caste discrimination in Karnataka, a Dalit boy in Kolar district was fined Rs 60,000 after he allegedly entered the temple of the village deity, Bhootamma, and touched the idol. The incident occurred in Ullerahalli of Malur taluk in the Kolar district.
“Last week, the village deity was taken out in a procession, when the boy belonging to a Dalit community, touched Bhootamma's (village deity) idol,” police officials told TNM. A few residents of the village, along with Gram Panchayat members, then called the boy and his family and accused them of “defiling” the idol.
According to the police, the village elders threatened the family members into paying Rs 60,000 as a “penalty” for touching the idol. “Although there is no ban on entering temples, members of Scheduled Caste communities in Ullerahalli avoid entering the temple, fearing a curse,” the police official said.
“The boy’s mother is a daily wage worker and there is no way she can afford to pay such a huge sum,” he said. However, despite the mother’s pleas to the Gram Panchayat members, the latter insisted that the family pay Rs 60,000 on the pretext of “cleaning and purifying” the idol.
Case Registered Against Gram Panchayat Members
As per the Times Of India, KM Sandesh, head of the state unit of Dalit welfare organisation Ambedkar Seva Samithi, was alerted to the situation and hurried to the village. He called for police to take appropriate action against individuals forcing the Dalit family to pay the fine. On Wednesday, 21 September, the Kolar police booked a suo moto case against the Gram Panchayat members and village elders under provisions of the Protection of Civil Rights Act.
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)