Wednesday, March 31, 2010

[ZESTCaste] Non-Brahmin staff face discrimination

Non-Brahmin staff face discrimination

Express News ServiceFirst Published : 31 Mar 2010 05:08:00 AM ISTLast
Updated : 31 Mar 2010 09:53:10 AM IST

VIJAYAWADA: Sri Kanaka Durga temple authorities' decision to allow
only Brahmins in 'prasadam' section here stirred up a controversy

Several non-Brahmin workers, who have been preparing prasadam for the
past several years, staged a protest at the temple in protest against
the decision.

The temple which invites tenders every year for making pulihora,
laddus, chakkerapongali and other prasadams, issued the tender a month
ago specifying that only Brahmin community people would be allowed to
work in prasadam making and packing section.

Majority of the workers in prasadam section, who prepare and pack
laddus, are non-Brahmins and they have been doing so for the past 20

However, in the recent tender notification for 2010- 11, the temple
authorities asked the contractor that all the provisions of the tender
notice including deputing Brahmin workers in prasadam section should
be followed strictly.

The new tender guidelines which will come into effect from April 1
created a controversy as over 65 persons working in prasadam section
are non-Brahmin.

"The temple authorities are giving priority to Brahmin workers at the
cost of our lives,'' lamented Pochapalli Ratnam saying that it can't
be justified. ``There was no single complaint against me in
maintaining cleanliness in the last 20 years,'' he told Express.

"One looks at the quality and whether the prasadam is being prepared
in hygienic conditions or not. The temple authorities can take action
against erring workers but throwing out the existing workers in the
name of caste is not acceptable,'' opined Tirumalla Jayalaxmi, another
worker. However, the temple Executive Officer N Vijay Kumar said that
he did not include any new provision in the tender notice and was
merely implementing the guidelines of Endowment department.

He maintained that the provision that only Brahmins should be allowed
to work in prasadam making and packing section had been violated for
the last several years on Indrakeeladri.

'To protect the temple's sanity and maintain hygienic conditions in
prasadam packing, I have strictly advised the contractor to depute
only Brahmin community workers even in prasadam packing,' the
Executive Officer said. Protesting against the temple's decision,
scores of workers under the aegis of Prasadam- Making Contract Workers
Union staged a protest at the temple and demanded withdrawal of the
decision immediately.


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