NCSC chief breaks taboo, enters Orissa temple
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Last Updated: Saturday, June 25, 2011, 21:05
Bhubaneswar: Breaking the age-old ban on the entry of dalits into a Hindu temple in Puri district, Chairman of the National Commission for Schedule Castes PL Punia on Friday entered the premises of Kali Temple at Ranapada village under Brahmagiri police station.

Punia, along with senior officials of the commission, went to Ranapada village on the bank of Chilika lake after getting information on the prevalence of the practice of untouchability in Puri district.

"I first informed the gathering that I am a dalit and then entered into the Kali temple," he said.

Though no one opposed Punia's entry, the main temple was closed before his arrival. "I was shocked to find that the temple closed before my arrival. Generally, they perform 'aarti' and other rituals during evening. But they deliberately closed it," Punia said.

Describing it as a "serious" matter, Punia said the temple authorities had also removed a sign board announcing that dalits were allowed only to a particular spot from where they could have 'darshan' of the Goddess.

During his interaction with upper caste people at the village and also the priest of the temple, Punia was informed that as it was against the tradition, the dalits were not allowed entry.

"Our fore-fathers did not allow dalits to step inside the temple. We will like to obey the tradition," a villager told Punia.

Stating that there was gross discrimination against dalits in the village, he said he would take up the matter at the national level as the community had been put to socio-economic boycott by upper caste people since long.


First Published: Saturday, June 25, 2011, 21:05

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