SALEM, November 22, 2010
Dalits re-enter temple amid police security
Dalits entering the Sri Chidambareshwarar Temple at East Rajapalayam
village in Salem district on Sunday. Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan
Nearly 300 Dalits offered prayers on the occasion of 'Thirukarthigai' Day
Amid heavy police security, the Dalits in East Rajapalayam in the
Gengavalli block in Salem district successfully re-entered the ancient
Sri Chidambareshwarar temple in the village on Sunday, from which they
were barred. Dressed up in their best, 300 Dalits including women and
children, carrying garlands and fruits, offered prayers inside the HR
and CE-controlled temple on the 'Thirukarthigai' Day. "We are happy,"
said a Dalit after offering the prayers.
The Dalits entered the temple on October 3 "for the first time in
their lives," according to a 65- year old Dalit labourer.
But it was said that the caste Hindus, once again, passed a 'diktat'
barring them from entering the temple, thus forcing them to seek
Since Saturday night, the village has remained tense. Heavy police
pickets were posted to prevent any untoward incident.
Revenue officials including Attur RDO V Sirajunnisa and policemen from
the nearby Veeraganur station rushed to the spot and held peace talks.
Later, senior police officials, led by SP Y. John Nicholson, arrived
at the village. The talks went on near the temple for nearly three
hours. The SP told the caste Hindus that none had the right to prevent
anyone from worshipping at the temple. Finally they relented and
withdrew from the temple areas.
Police asked the Dalits to enter the temple peacefully and not to
burst crackers. About 4 pm, the Dalits entered the temple and offered
poojas. The SP also told the caste Hindus and Dalits to maintain
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