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Dalits enter temple in Gujarat village to protest discrimination

A Gujarat-based group that works for the Dalits led the drive to enter the temple and will repeat the programme in other villages as well.

india Updated: Jan 20, 2018 00:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
Dalits,Bhim Shakti Sena,Dalits in temples
Priest offers aarti inside a temple.(HT File Photo/Representative image)

Bhim Shakti Sena, a Gujarat-based group that works for the Dalits, on Friday began their mandir pravesh (entry into temples) drive from the very temple in Sherpura village in Banaskantha district where recently a man from the community was allegedly beaten up for offering prayers.

The group, which also got support from other community leaders, will soon repeat the programme in other villages
to address the issue of untouchability.

“The Una incident, where Dalit men were flogged by self-styled cow vigilantes, in 2016 brought the plight of the dalits to the fore, but even today, the community members face discrimination,” said Kevalsinh Rathod of Bhim Sakti Sena.

Rathod, who hails from Una and was witness to the ordeal of victim family members, said that ranging from no entry to temples to non-availability of services such as getting a hair cut from barbers, his community faces a lot of discrimination.

“We have prepared a list of some 12 villages. One by one, each will be covered. Entry into temples is a symbolic step. The aim is to address the issue of discrimination,” he added.

Sherpura village is located on Gujarat-Rajasthan border. Recently, a Dalit youth was beaten for entering and offering prayers at a temple located inside village gaushala.

On Friday, around 2,000 Dalits gathered at the gaushala. After holding a public meeting, they entered the temple and offered prayers.

First Published: Jan 19, 2018 23:16 IST