Bhubaneswar: In its bid to end the age-old
practice of untouchability and ban on entry at temples in
certain pockets of the state, Orissa government has prepared a
strategy to deal with such situation.
"It was decided to initiate prompt action against
persons delivering inflammatory speeches on the basis of caste
besides launching massive awareness campaign against the
menace," a senior official in the ST, SC, OBC and Minorities
Development department said today.
The state government`s plan to check the dual issue was
part of the strategy prepared to be submitted with the
National Commission for Scheduled Caste (NCSC). The state
government had earlier assured NCSC that it would prepare a
strategy plan to combat the practices.
"District administration along with police should move the
administration of major temples in the state to issue
necessary advisory to managing committees to take all possible
steps for ensuing that there is no discrimination between one
community and the other so far as entry and offer of puja are
concerned," the strategy plan report said.
Earlier NCSC chairman PL Punia had expressed grave
concern over the ban on entry of dalits at a temple in
Brahmagiri in Puri district. Punia visited the temple and
asked the government to ensure that all should get equal
opportunity to enter temple.
The report said the district authorities will take steps
for printing posters, handbills, leaflets and distribute them
in villages. "Hoardings need to be erected near temples and
conspicuous places of gram panchayats. Steps may also be taken
to create awareness through street play and other cultural
activities," it said.
The government also decided to make it a point to
discuss the issues of untouchability and dalit`s temple entry
in monthly meetings of Panchayat Samities and Gram Panchayats
in vulnerable pockets.
The strategy plan also suggested that there should be
added effort to create awareness about the ill effects of
untouchability in the curriculum of elementary and secondary
level of education.
"The students of elementary schools should not only be
taught about the bad of untouchability but also should be
encouraged to ensure that the school becomes an example of for
setting a suitable ambience where children interact with each
other free from caste-affiliations," the official said.
Stating that greater level of urbanisation, economic
development and education had resulted in substantial blurring
of the caste discrimination, the government admitted that in
some remote and backward pockets stray incidents of
untouchability related issues have been reported.
The state government cited issues relating to ban on
dalits to enter temple in Kendrapara and Puri districts and
said one case of untouchability incident was reported from
Paradip area in Jagatsinghour district.