Thursday, July 21, 2011

[ZESTCaste] BJD MP bats for Dalits' entry into shrine

BJD MP bats for Dalits' entry into shrine
TNN | Jul 21, 2011, 03.54am IST

BHUBANESWAR: BJD MP Mohan Jena on Wednesday said it was time upper
caste Hindus shed their inhibitions and welcomed people of all races,
colours and creeds to places of worship. This would not only
drastically reduce religion-related tensions in the society but make
Hindu religion truly universal, he said.

Addressing a media conference here, the ruling party legislator said
though Hinduism per se did not believe in discrimination amongst
people, the religion for some strange reasons continued to be misused
in the hands of some people thereby losing its dignity and global
appeal. "Despite the Orissa Temple Authorisation Act 1948 in operation
and campaigns undertaken in the past by such personalities like
Mahatma Gandhi, B R Ambedkar, Ram Manohar Lohia and Jayaprakash
Narain, the practice of treating people as untouchables persist in the
country and Dalits are not allowed entry into temples at many places,"
he remarked.

On his party leader Pyari Mohan Mohapatra's suggestion that non-Hindus
should be allowed entry into the Puri Jagannath temple in order to
boost tourism in the state, Jena said: "Before talking about people of
other faiths no one should forget the kind of treatment meted out to
Dalits belonging to Hindu religion itself on the matter of gaining
entry into religious shrines."

He said it was surprising that upper caste people prefered to engage
Dalits in "different kinds of services of the deities" but would not
tolerate their entry into the temples and see the Lord. "If Dalits are
not allowed to the temples then the Mukti Mandap and Puri
Sankaracharya should declare them as non-Hindus," the Jajpur MP said.
He also expressed surprise that the Puri Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha
Deb and the Sankaracharya had so far remained "silent" on the issue.

The BJD MP said the Ambedkar-Lohia Bichar Mancha, an organization
working for Dalit rights, would organize a mass dharna in Bhubaneswar
during the ensuing Assembly session to highlight the issue. The Manch
is also planning to move the court seeking its intervention for making
all Hindu shrines accessible by Dalits.

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