No temple bars entry of Dalits, say district admins in U’khand
DEHRADUN: Replying to the letter sent by the Scheduled Caste (SC) commission in January seeking a list of temples that prevent Dalits from entering places of worship, the local administrations of all 13 districts in Uttarakhand said “no temple in their respective districts bans the entry of Dalits”.
The letter was sent following an incident in Mori, Uttarkashi district, in which a 22-year-old Dalit man was allegedly thrashed by upper caste men while he was entering a temple in January. A couple of months later, a similar incident took place in Almora district in which two Dalit schoolgirls were stopped from entering a temple.
Commission chairman Mukesh Kumar told TOI on Tuesday that the reply was received after a few months of communication with all district administrations. “All of them, in their reply, stated that no temples in their respective districts restrict the entry of Dalits. However, the commission will take action whenever it comes to know about any such incident. We’re also planning a ‘harmony meet’ with people from different sections of the Hindu society in Haridwar after the monsoon,” said Kumar.
Social activists, meanwhile, differed. They pointed out that “caste-based discrimination is very much present in the hilly areas of the state”.
CPI leader and member of the party’s national committee, Samar Bhandari, said, “The reply is very different from the ground reality. Denial won’t change facts. Dalits are still not allowed to enter temples in many areas of the hills as well as to participate in social functions.”
A senior commission official, requesting anonymity, said, “It is understandable that they denied what happened. Admitting it would only invite trouble for the state government. No official would risk that.”
Courtesy : TOI
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