Clash of castes in Maddur
K Shiva KumarFirst Published : 22 Mar 2010 06:35:44 AM ISTLast Updated
: 22 Mar 2010 12:30:27 PM IST
MANDYA: History was made in S I Honnalagere of Maddur taluk in Mandya
district when around 100 Dalit families forced entry into the temple
of the local deity Bevenamma to offer special prayers on Sunday.
Dalits have, for generations, stood outside the temple to pray. They
even paid Rs 750 per family for the renovation of the temple, and
offered rice and jaggery for the inauguration, but the upper caste
Hindus still kept them out, they claim.
Around 11 am on Sunday, they gathered at the temple carrying fruits,
flowers and sweets. The upper caste Hindus did everything possible to
prevent them from entering the temple — from verbal abuse to nearly
coming to blows. When all else failed, they pulled out the priest and
asked him not to conduct the puja.
But the Dalit familes entered the temple, offered puja and returned
home. Now, they fear ostracisation by upper castes. Shops in the
village are closed and landless Dalit labourers fear they could lose
their jobs as a backlash by the upper castes, who have already held
talks with villagers.
It all started when Nagaraj galvanized the Dalits and made a
representation to the Deputy Commissioner, the SP and others seeking
police protection to make the offering possible at the temple.
Based on the petition, Additional SP Rajanna convened a meeting
between representatives of both the sides, where the upper caste
Hindus are said to have refused entry to the Dalits.
The Dalits, however, ignored the warning and entered the temple,
amidst slogan-shouting by the upper castes.
The police have pressed in additional forces and imposed prohibitory orders.
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