Dalits Offer Worship at Village Temple After Decades
Dalits hailing from Uthapuram in this district today prayed at Sri Muthalamman temple after the long-standing dispute with caste Hindus of the village was resolved.

Both the sides were at loggerheads for the past 20 years over offering worship in the temple.

The enmity between them was so much so that the caste Hindus even built a dividing wall to prevent access to Dalits from using common road running through their area in 1989. A portion of the wall was demolished in 2008, after the intervention of the CPM and human rights organisations.

There were also frequent clashes between the two communities over offering worship in the temple and several cases were pending against people belonging to both communities.

The issue was resolved last month following efforts by Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front, District Collector U Sagayam and Superintendent of Police Asra Garg.

Leaders of the caste Hindu community today welcomed the Dalits to the temple. They also participated in the special puja at the temple.

Sankaralingam and Ponniah, the Dalit leaders, told reporters that they were "very happy" after offering worship at the temple.

They said their community members had forgotten all the past skirmishes and bitter incidents.

It was also decided to withdraw all the cases and remain united in future, Sankaralingam said.

The caste Hindu leaders said they would remain united with local Dalits and in future they would also perform the consecration and festivals unitedly.

Uthapuram village witnessed three major caste clashes in 1948, 1964 and 1989 over the issue. There were several casualties on all the three occasions. Many cases were filed and efforts to conduct peace talks earlier had failed.

The clash between the two communities and construction of the dividing wall in the village became a national issue. Top leaders from Left parties including Brinda Karat had visited the village demanding to demolish the wall and allow the Dalits to pray in the temple and use the common road.

One person died when police opened fire to quell the violence due to clashes between the two sides in 2009.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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Digression

5/D-28
Nov 12, 2011
07:41 AM

 Chaturvarna Maya srishtam guna Karma Vibhagayao - B.Gita

Even the Lord himself will be at a loss to explain how twisted minds themselves created an new untouchable class. 

Misinterpretation and false representation has been the achilles heel of religion and history, and our religious custodians got this very wrong over a period of time in history. 

Kautilya, Washington DC
4/D-50
Nov 11, 2011
10:03 AM

Sanket,

   As any common person, these poor dalits do have their own beliefs and all of us - including the intellectuals - should respect them. The real way to fight this stupidity is not to run away from it, but to kick these castist morons' posteriors real hard, show them their place and take back their rights

Sangeetha, Chennai
3/D-49
Nov 11, 2011
10:02 AM

Sanket Biswas, Well timed quote of Ambedkar. A few decades ago, Dalits entered another place of worship - not hindu temple but muslim's mosque. En mass conversion to islam. That had larger impact than entering hindu temple.

Rajesh, Phoenix
2/D-46
Nov 11, 2011
09:46 AM

Ask these castist morons why they observe such inhuman and blatant discrimination as untouchability -they dont have an answer. Question these nincompoops on if their God/Goddess seeks such favours as discrimination - they dont have an answer or rather they dont know it. These castist swines would've done better had they not made such statements as if they're bestowing some favour on those poor people by allowing entry into the temple

Sangeetha, Chennai
1/D-43
Nov 11, 2011
09:06 AM

In 1933, Gandhiji wanted Dr. B. R. Ambedkar to support temple entry bill in Masras Presidency. He didn't agree. Instead he observed and advised in his characteristic enlightened manner,

“Not very long ago there used to be boards on club doors and other social resorts maintained by Europeans in India, which said ‘Dogs and Indians’ are not allowed. The temples of Hindus carry similar boards today, the only difference is that the boards on the Hindu temples practically say: ‘All Hindus and all animals including dogs are admitted, only Untouchables are not admitted’. The situation in both cases is of parity. But Hindus never begged for admission in those places from which the Europeans in their arrogance had excluded them. Why should an Untouchable beg for admission in a place from which he has been excluded by the arrogance of the Hindus? This is the reason why the Depressed Class man who is interested in material welfare should be prepared to say to the Hindus, ‘to open or not to open your temples is a question for you to consider and not for me to agitate. If you think, it is bad manners not to respect the sacredness of human personality, open your temple and be a gentleman. If you rather be a Hindu than a gentleman, then shut the doors and damn yourself for I don’t care to come.’”

Dalit must take the advice of Dr. Ambedkar and shun Hindu temples which are centres of indignity and humiliation for them. Living with indgnity is worse than hell.

Sanket Biswas, Kolkata
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