Dalits want temple entry
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
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
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."
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