Dalits want temple entry
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- Published 26.09.10
Cuttack, Sept. 25: Dalits of Ranapada village of Brahmagiri block in Puri district today demanded entry into temples.
This follows a sequence of events since August 28, when three Dalit girls of the village were prevented from offering prayers at Ma Kali Temple in neighbouring Nuapada and manhandled by members of the upper castes. Since then, upper caste groups have attacked Ranapada Dalits at Raybidharpur.
Submitting a memorandum to the director general of police (DGP) here today, Dalits of Ranapada village demanded temple entry rights. Holding the banner of Ambedkar Lohia Bichar Manch (Orissa), they staged a dharna and demanded that Brahmagiri be declared a block prone to atrocities on Dalits.
“The protest dharna follows a sequence of events since three Dalit girls of Ranapada were prevented from offering puja at the Ma Kali Temple in Nuapada and manhandled by the upper caste of their village on August 28. When the girls protested, they were asked to cough up a ‘fine’ of Rs 50,000,” Puri-based human rights activist and Manch spokesperson Bagambar Patnaik said.
“The three girls then lodged an FIR. On September 8, the Dalits were attacked by an upper caste group at Raybidharpur. Though another FIR naming 70 persons in connection with the attack had been lodged at the Brahmagiri police station, no action has been taken yet,” Patnaik said.
The Manch said: “Dalit families at Ranapada village should be supplied cooked food and other relief materials. Police should also be deployed to safeguard their life and property.”
“We have all been living under fear of threat to our lives should we step outside the village,” said 28-year-old Sadhucharan Das, who participated in the dharna.
DGP Manmohan Praharaj said: “We will hold a proper inquiry by the human rights protection cell of the Orissa police. We will take the strongest possible action if the allegation is found to be true.”