Updated: September 24, 2021 7:04:21 am
Days after villagers allegedly penalised a Dalit family with Rs 25,000 after a three-year-old boy entered a temple in Karnataka’s Koppal district, the police have arrested five persons, including the priest of the temple.
The boy belonged to the Dalit Channdasar community, while the five arrested people are from the upper Ganiga caste.
The incident took place on September 4 at Miyapur village in Kushtagi taluk, where Dalits are not allowed to enter temples. The police sources said that they have arrested Kanakappa Poojary, Hanumanagouda, Gavisiddappa Myageri, Sharanegouda and Virupakshagouda Myageri.
The police sources said that the parents had gone near the temple on the occasion of the boy’s birthday and he entered it. The priest and other heads of the village objected to it and held a meeting on September 11 before imposing the penalty on the family.
A senior police officer said, “the fine was imposed stating that ‘they had to clean the temple and conduct rituals because the Dalit boy had entered the temple.”
The incident came to light when the Dalit family approached the leaders of the community saying they could not afford to pay the penalty amount.
Interestingly, the police had held a ‘peace’ meeting with the communities in the village to end the controversy and the victim’s father was reluctant to file a complaint as he feared his family would face more danger from the villagers.
Following a public furore, a complaint was filed by social welfare department assistant director Balachandra on September 21. Superintendent of police Shreedhar T said that a case against five persons has been booked under IPC sections 504 and 149, and sections under Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
Suralkar Vikas Kishor, the deputy commissioner of Koppal district who visited the village on Wednesday, held a meeting with village heads. He told The Indian Express, “it is a shameful incident and the family was not ready to file a case. We have collected information from the grounds which shows that about 25-30 villages in the district continue to indulge in such evil practices. We are planning to involve a private agency to sensitise the population by a programme called IEC (information, education, communication) for the betterment.”
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