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Dalits offer prayers at Sulia temple in Bhilwara

Hundreds of Dalits offer prayers amidst tight security at an ancient temple in Sulia.

india Updated: Dec 12, 2006 19:20 IST

Hundreds of Dalits offered prayers on Tuesday amidst tight security at an ancient temple in Sulia nearly two-and-a-half months after a member of their community was stopped from entering the shrine, sparking protests against the district administration.

Since early morning people of Dalit community thronged the Chawanda Temple and offered prayers to the goddess, an ancient deity worshiped by generations of Gujjars and Balai community, Superintendent of Police Govind Gupta said.

He said above 1000 Dalits were seen waiting in queue to enter the temple and so far there was no disturbance in the area. He said around 200 personnel of Rajasthan Armed Constabulary and other policemen were deputed to oversee the law and order.

Aruna Roy, a strong social activist and Magsaysay award recipient, led the devotees affilated to Dalit Adivasi Adhikar Abhiyan (DAAA) and Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan without any commotion or obstruction.

Hajari Bhopa, an 81-year-old Dalit and Tulsi Ram, who were allegedly stopped from worshipping there and manhandled by members of Gujjar community on October 1, were among the first ones to visit the temple and pay obeisance.

Director of Centre for Dalit Rights PL Mimmorath, former MP Than Singh Jatav led other groups of Dalits to the temple.

Tuesday's puja-archna was the real one and it would continue in future too or on special religious occasions, Meghvanshi said.

After Bhopa was allegedly stopped from worshipping in the temple, the Dalit community pulled up their sleeves in protest against the district administration. A case was reportedly registered at a police station in the district after the incident.

First Published: Dec 12, 2006 19:20 IST