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Gujarat: Priest, 2 temple cooks booked for preventing entry of Dalit policeman

Jayesh Khara, a 29-year-old Lok Rakshak police constable of Bhanwad police station, filed a complaint against Babubhai Patel, Sanjaybhai and Hansgiri Bapu of Moti Gop village on Saturday, alleging that they discriminated against him when he went to the temple to have his dinner.

By: Express News Service | Rajkot |
Updated: November 6, 2019 7:32:37 am
Dalit cop in gujarat denied temple entry, atrocities act, caste atrocities, dalit rights, caste atrocities in gujarat, Jayesh Khara, indian express Based on Jayesh Khara’s complaint, the Jamjodhpur police booked the three persons.

TWO DAYS after filing a complaint against priest of a temple and its two cooks, a police constable told investigators on Tuesday that they discriminated against him because he was a Dalit and did not allow him to enter the temple’s kitchen.

On Saturday, Jayesh Khara, a 29-year-old Lok Rakshak police constable of Bhanwad police station in Devbhumi Dwarka district, filed a complaint against Babubhai Patel, Sanjaybhai and Hansgiri Bapu of Moti Gop village on Saturday, alleging that they discriminated against him when he went to the temple to have his dinner.

Based on his complaint, the Jamjodhpur police booked the three persons under IPC Sections 114 (abettor present when crime is committed), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Hansgiri Bapu is the head priest of Gopnath Mahadev temple, a shrine of Lord Shiva atop Gop hill near Moti Gop village, Babubhai Patel is the cook at the temple kitchen and Sanjaybhai his assistant.

Khara said that on the day of the incident, he was posted at a very-high frequency auto-relay centre of police of Jamnagar and Devbhumi Dwarka districts atop Gop hillock. The facility is part of wireless communication infrastructure jointly used by police of the two districts, and Khara was assigned the duty of an operator there on Friday. Gagiya, the other policeman manning the facility that day, is attached to Lalpur police station of Jamnagar district police.

The facility atop the hillock is at a distance from any permanent human habitation besides the Gop Mahadev temple and Khara said that as part of a private informal understanding with the priest of the temple, one policeman deputed at the facility would have lunch at the temple kitchen and also collect tiffin from there for the other. Khara said that policemen who dine at the temple kitchen or source their meals from there during their days of duty at the wireless facility make some donations voluntarily to the temple every month.

In his complaint, Khara said that when he went to the temple at 8:30 pm on Friday to have his dinner and to fetch tiffin for his colleague police constable Gagiya, Patel and Sanjaybhai asked him to not enter the kitchen and dine there as he was a Dalit. The duo told him to instead collect his tiffin standing outside.

Khara then complained to Hansgiri Bapu, telling the priest that the duo were were discriminating against him because of his caste. But the priest also told the police constable that as he was a Dalit, he should never enter the temple and instead collect his tiffin waiting outside. The priest also challenged the policeman to charge him under any section of the law.

“We recorded further statement of the complainant police constable on Tuesday and he said that he had an argument with Patel and Sanjaybhai that day over some issue,” Deputy Superintendent of Police (SC/ST Cell) of Jamnagar district, Jignesh Chavda, told The Indian Express on Tuesday. “During that argument, the duo asked the complainant about his caste and after the complainant replied, they came to know that he was a Dalit.”

Chavda said they were recording statements of eye-witnesses. “Once we find some evidence against the accused, we shall proceed to arrest them. However, nobody has been detained or arrested so far,” the DySP said.

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