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Rajasthan: Defiant Dalits enter temple
December 12, 2006 15:34 IST
A group of more than 400 Dalits entered a temple in Bhilwara district's Suliya village peacefully on Tuesday, defying the age-old ban on their entry, which was enforced by the influential Gurjars.
The Dalits were led by priest Bhopa Hazari Balai into the sanctum sanctorum of the Chamunda temple in Suliya village and offered prayers.
Social activists Aruna Roy, Mamta Jaitely and others were present during the entry and expressed solidarity with the Dalit cause.
Dalits of Suliya village were supported by their brethren from Pali, Byavar, Jawaja village, Tilonia, Bhim and Rajsamand. Dalit victims of upper caste atrocities in Pali and other places were also present to support the cause.
The influential and majority Gurjars of the village had decided to oppose the Dalits' entry into the temple. The Dalits had decided on the entry plan at their meeting on November 18 under the banner of Dalit Adivasi Adhikar Abhiyan.
Sensing that the situation may turn tense, at least 300 policemen have been deployed in the area. Additional SP O P Sharma and Additional District Magistrate L N Mantri are camping at the site to monitor the situation.
The police asked the Gurjars congregated at the site to move away but allowed their leader Remta Gurjar to be present in the temple.
Panchayati Raj minister Kalu Lal Gurjar and area MLA had tried to help the Dalits cause by facilitating their entry into the temple on November 26.
However, Suliya village's 40 Dalit families rejected the minister's pleas to enter the temple along with him that day and instead observed a black day. They had announced they would enter the temple on their own on December 12.