Dalits ‘barred’ from taking part in temple function


Submitted by Walter Jayawardhana

AJMER: The old and evil order of casteism and untouchability refused to die down and recently reared up it’s ugly head with dalits being prevented from taking part in a yagna for a temple inauguration, for which they too have contributed.

The incident happened in an interior village, Dhaulat Khera, of Pisangan block in Ajmer district on Wednesday. Daulat Khera has about 450 households dominated by Jats, Rawats and Nats. There are also 25 houses of Meghwals and three from the Raiger community. The village is mostly dependent on rain harvesting and cattle farming.

When the need of a Tejaji temple was discussed, the villagers decided to collect contributions from every household and each house has to pay Rs 2,500. “We contributed for the temple and therefore we too have the right to participate in every ritual there,” a member of the dalit community preferring anonymity said.

The inauguration of the temple was organized Wednesday morning and when the members of the dalit community reached there to take part in the yagna, they were denied entry by the powerful groups of the village. “They told us that only 51 couples will sit in the yagna and that we would not be allowed in it,” he added.

Congress MLA Mahandera Singh Gujjar and other local representatives participated in the inauguration but said they were not aware of such an incident. Sub-divisional magistrate Rajesh Goyal went to the spot upon receiving the information and asked the community members to come out to register a complaint but none came forward.

“I have no idea if any member from the dalit community was banned from participating in the yagna,” the Congress MLA said.

Even sarpanch Chagan Lal Prajapat denied any orders on banning anyone from participating in the yagna. “It is a tradition that only those who give money for sitting in the yagna are allowed and the dalits had not paid of it,” he said.

Meanwhile, a meeting was also called in which it was decided that a police complaint must be made but no one agreed to stand against the powerful groups of the village. “I got the call from the village of the ban and rushed to the place. I told everyone that if they had any problem they could contact immediately but no one came forward. I even asked them to come to a nearby government school if they are afraid of speaking in the village but in vain,” said Bewar SDM Rajesh Goyal.

Goyal had deputed patwaris and other officials in the village to look into the issue. “I have told them that if anyone comes forth in this regard, he or she should be brought to my office for further action,” the SDM added.

Officials said if any dalit has a complaint regarding inequality, action will be taken as per law. “There is anxiety in the village and we are trying to convince people of the community to speak out so that action can be taken,” said Ramesh Bansal, coordinator of the Dalit Rights Center. (Courtesy Times of India)