RSS holds ‘cleansing’ drive at Udupi temple, Dalits object

The purification exercise was carried out because of wrong messages spread about the Udupi Mutt during the Chalo Udupi rally

By: Express News Service | Bengaluru | Published: October 28, 2016 2:01 am
jignesh-759 Jignesh Mevani was among several Dalit speakers at the event at Udupi temple in Karnataka. (File)

A “purification” drive organised at the Udupi Krishna Temple by a senior RSS leader and head seer of Pejawer Mutt on Sunday has sparked objections, with Dalit groups claiming that the drive was directed against them.

The call for the purification drive, called Kanaka Nadige, was given by Chakravarthy Sulibele, RSS leader and head of Yuva Brigade in Karnataka, after an Udupi Chalo rally was organised by Dalit groups on October 9 to demand justice and equality in the Udupi temple. Jignesh Mevani, a leader from Gujarat, was among several Dalit speakers at the event who called for an end to restrictive practices against Dalits and curbs on gau rakshaks.

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Following the October 9 event, the Yuva Brigade initially called for cleaning of streets in the whole of Udupi. This prompted pro-Dalit groups to call for a rally in the town on October 23, called Swabhiman Nadige, and approach the Udupi administration for a ban on the Yuva Brigade’s Kanaka Nadige. Udupi SP K T Balakrishna denied permission to both Kanaka Nadige and Swabhiman Nadige.

Subsequently, the Dalit groups postponed their rally, while the Yuva Brigade conducted a cleansing ritual on the premises of the Udupi Krishna Temple. Around 500 Yuva Brigade volunteers cleaned the toilets, parking lots, kitchens and other areas in the compound on Sunday.

“This is not an anti-Dalit purification. Dalits participated in the cleaning, and we had food together. The purification exercise was carried out because of wrong messages spread about the Udupi Mutt during the Chalo Udupi rally, where it was alleged that there was discrimination at the mutt. If they think it is against Chalo Udupi, let them,’’ RSS leader Sulibele said during the programme.

Pejawer Mutt seer Vishweshwara Thirtha, who told state government officials that he was opposed to the cleansing ritual but could not pull out as the Yuva Brigade had made arrangements, said the ritual was meant for holistic cleaning. “We need internal and external purification. It is not against any community,’’ he said.

Dalit groups, meanwhile, objected to the cleansing ritual and demanded action against those who participated in it.

“The Kanaka Nadige was held in places that are not exactly in the mutt premises. Strict action should be taken for violating the order of the administration. Despite their claims, the cleaning drive was directed against Dalits,” said Shyamraj Birthi, an organiser of the proposed Swabhimana Nadige event.

The Chalo Udupi rally was declared a Dalit “self-respect convention”, organised as part of efforts to build a nationwide coalition of Dalits, women, minority and oppressed communities.

One of the demands that Mevani made at the rally was for a ban on caste-based seating (pankti bheda) for meals at the Udupi temple. He had said that the Karnataka government should direct the temple authorities to change the system or face protests.

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  1. Shreekantha Sharma
    Aug 14, 2017 at 7:01 pm
    Don't miss this video - Gives a lot of back ground details about conversion activity incl Chalo Udupi!! s: /watch?v dvcJI5yAd6M t 317s
    1. H
      Nov 12, 2016 at 11:06 pm
      Caste system will never go away unless you marry your daughters and sisters to ST/SC boys. Will you marry them like that?
      1. J
        Oct 28, 2016 at 7:38 am
        What these chaddi thinks themselves? They are utter gutters in front of outside world.
        1. V
          Oct 30, 2016 at 4:44 pm
          Cleanliness is next to godliness. Let us keep our temples clean. Why should we object? At the same time let us keep our minds and hearts also clean. It applies to everyone. CHITTA SHUDDHI should be today's priority. When mind is corrupt everything is misconceived.
          1. Nazeer Hussain
            Oct 28, 2016 at 12:02 pm
            Caste system the biggest cruelty in the face of Earth for brotherhood, they want a uniform civil code for Muslims whose are practices so great and fair are being replicated in UNO basic human rights to humanity, I challenge RSS to propose Thier religions concept of equality to the UNO and see what happens????
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