Dalits barred from entering temple in Tirupati district
TIRUPATI: Doors of Polakshamma temple in Tirupati district remain shut for Dalits, even a month after priests stopped their entry into the shrine during the local “jatara” (folk festival) at Gollapalli village in Ramakrishnapuram panchayat limits.
AP deputy chief minister K Narayanaswamy ordered an inquiry into the incident.
The priest and a group of upper caste villagers not only barred Dalit devotees from entering the premises, but also locked the shrine.
Left with no choice, the Dalit devotees cooked “pongal” (rice-pulses dish) and offered the “prasadam” from outside the temple perimeter. Later, they staged protests and sought intervention of officials to end caste discrimination.
The devotees, who reside in the neighbouring Dalitwada colony, churned out names of 7 temple board trustees, who forcibly stopped their entry. “We informed local officials and the collector, but the ban has not been lifted. We are still denied entry and forced to worship from outside. The government should ensure Dalits are not subjected to ill-treatment,” a devotee said.
Representatives of various political parties and Dalit groups criticized the district administration for “failing to intervene or crack down on those responsible for the shameful incident”.
Murali Mohan, in charge of TDP for Puthalapattu reserved constituency, demanded that the state government act against the guilty.
While the Tirupati district administration is yet to formally respond, deputy CM Narayanaswamy, who hails from the district, told TOI that he has asked officials to conduct an inquiry and begin appropriate legal action. He, however, alleged politicization of the incident ahead of chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s visit to nearby Nagari town.
Courtesy : TOI
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