Bhubaneswar: Orissa government on Monday said
it would present facts on the steps taken to eliminate the
alleged caste discrimination in the state before the National
Commission for Scheduled Caste (NCSC) on July 18, official
"We have received a letter from the NCSC and asked to
place facts on the steps taken to eliminate the caste based
discrimination in the state," chief secretary BK Patnaik told
Patnaik and the state DGP Manmohan Praharaj had been
summoned by the NCSC to explain an incident relating to ban
on the entry of dalits into a Kali temple at Ranapada village
under Brahmagiri police station area in Puri district.
NCSC chairman PL Punia had himself visited the Kali
temple at Ranapada village on June 25 to ascertain facts
behind the alleged caste discrimination.
Though Punia defied the ban and entered into the
temple premises, he was surprised to find that the main temple
was closed before his arrival at the village. The priests had
deliberately closed the main door before the sun set in order
to prevent his entry, Punia had alleged.
"Dalits are not allowed into the temple. They can go
upto a certain point in the temple and asked to offer prayer
from a distance," Punia had said adding that about 80 dalit
families had been facing socio-economic boycott by upper caste
people after three dalit girls entered into the temple last
Punia had also met the three girls who dared to
defy the age-old ban on the Dalits entry into the temple.
Though one upper caste person was arrested in
connection with last year`s incident, the state government
had done nothing to remove socio-economic boycott on the Dalit
families who mostly earn their livelihood working as share
croppers, Punia said.
The Dalits were not being allowed to cultivate land as
share croppers, Punia said.
Asked on the state government`s stand on the Dalit
discrimination, the chief secretary said, "We will place facts
before the commission."