Video: Dalit woman refused entry into TN temple fights back boldly

"There is no your temple, my temple," argues Radha.
Video: Dalit woman refused entry into TN temple fights back boldly
Video: Dalit woman refused entry into TN temple fights back boldly
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A video of a Dalit woman who was turned away from a temple 25 km from Pondicherry on Sunday, in which she is seen fighting back boldly, has gone viral. Other temple goers, presumed to be caste-Hindus, can be seen asking a woman in a pink salwar to leave the premises of the place of worship. When she refuses, they attempt to physically push her away.

According to The Hindu, the woman Radha who is seen in the video belongs the Kunichampet Dalit colony. The report states that the villagers consider the the 20-day festival at the Sri Kamatchi Sameta Boodanadheeswarar Temple very auspicious.  Stories from the Mahabharata are told in the temple and played on loudspeakers outside. But people from the Dalit colony are allegedly not allowed to enter the temple and are told to pray from outside. But this year Radha decided that she wanted to witness the marriage of goddess Draupadi for herself. And what followed was seen in the video.

"I won't go," says Radha, as people surround her, blocking her entry. Prople present in the temple tell her, "You have your own temple. Go there."

"There is no ‘your’ temple, ‘my’ temple," argues Radha.

"You go to your temple, we will take care of ours. Do we come to yours?" asks one of the people blocking her way.

They then proceed to shove and push her even as she warns them against manhandling her.

Radha reportedly lives with her mother, a daily wage worker, in a thatched hut like others in the Dalit colony.

She says that six years ago, she was allowed to enter the temple. But a villager told to The Hindu, "It is only the Vanniyars, Reddiyars, Mudaliars and other caste Hindus who perform the rituals.”

This is despite the temple being under government control.

Arun Prakash, the President of the Sri Draupadiamman Alayam and Sri Kamatchi Sameta Boodanadheeswarar Temple Board has however dismissed the allegation. He claims that for 18 days, 18 different families handle the rituals. "There must have been some misunderstanding on that particular day. There was no discrimination based on their caste,” he claims. He however admits that Dalits do not frequent the temple. "But when they enter the temple we never force them out. I was not present on that day and was not aware of what happened until the video went viral. All communities live peacefully here."

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