The priest allegedly asked the family to leave the premises upon learning that they belong to the Madiga community.

Telangana temple priest refuses to perform puja for Dalit family bookedImage For Representation
news Caste Discrimination Saturday, November 14, 2020 - 09:39

The police have registered a case against a temple priest in Jangaon district of Telangana for allegedly refusing to perform certain rituals for a family who belongs to the Scheduled Caste community. The family wanted to perform a certain ritual at a Hanuman temple near Ganeshwada in Janagan town but the priest allegedly refused on the grounds of their caste. On Friday, Lakkapalli Bhaskar and his family, who belong to the Madiga community, had approached the temple priest, identified as Gangi Anjaneya Sharma, to perform certain rituals in the name of his son.

Speaking to The New Indian Express, Bhaskar said that the priest asked the family their caste and when informed that they belong to the Madiga community, the priest allegedly refused to perform the rituals. The priest is also accused of asking the family to leave the premises and claiming that Dalits were not allowed entry into the temple. The priest allegedly yelled at the family when Bhaskar’s wife was found washing her legs in the temple premises.

The incident sparked off a protest the same day with several members of the Dalit community flocking the temple. The Janagaon police rushed to the spot in an effort to manage the protesters. D Mallesh, the inspector of the Janagaon police station, said that Sharma has been taken into custody and statements were being taken. A case under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act was registered against the priest.

The incident comes two weeks after caste-Hindus attacked a Dalit colony over the celebration of Dasara festival in Ramojipeta of Sircilla in Telangana.

The mob attacked the Dalits after taking offence to the loud music being played during Dasara celebrations. Speaking to TNM then, Buram Abhinav, the state general secretary of the Kula Nirmulana Porata Samithi (KNPS), who visited the Dalit colony, said, “Like any other community in the village, people from the Dalit community also arranged for a disc jockey (DJ) and set up music systems on Sunday night for Dasara celebrations. However, the Sarpanch, who is from a dominant caste, and members of other dominant castes objected to it, saying it was causing them disturbance.” he said.

Tensions were already prevailing in the area as a man from a dominant caste had earlier allegedly passed a provocative comment against Dalit women who were trying to play Bathukamma, a festival of flowers in Telangana.

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