1 December 2011 Last updated at 14:47 GMT
India 'caste meal' activist beaten at Karnataka temple
Food rolling at the Subrahmanya temple, Karnataka The local Malekudiya
tribe believes the rolling will cure skin diseases
An activist in India has been beaten up for protesting about a ritual
in which lower-caste Indians roll in the food leftovers of those of a
KS Shivaramu was chased in the street and beaten with sticks outside
the Subrahmanya temple in the southern state of Karnataka.
Hundreds of people had rolled on the floor at the "made snana"
ceremony at the temple.
Caste discrimination is illegal in India but bias remains in many areas.
Mr Shivaramu was speaking to the media outside the temple on Wednesday
after meeting officials to submit a petition demanding an end to what
he called the "inhuman" ceremony.
After he had finished, a group of people began to argue with him and
then chased him along the street hitting him with sticks. Mr Shivaramu
was taken to hospital.
The ceremony involves rolling on plantain leaves that contain the
leftovers of food served to high-caste Brahmins.
The ritual is performed annually during the Champa Shashti festival.
The local Malekudiya tribe believes that it will cure skin diseases.
Mr Shivaramu told the Hindu newspaper that the ceremony "perpetuates
superstitious beliefs", adding: "The practice of serving food inside
the temple only for a particular caste should be stopped."
Local media say officials are reluctant to enforce a ban given the
strength of tribal support.
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