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Orissa: Dalits threaten to convert
October 31, 2006 15:42 IST
The dalits are peeved at the restriction on their entry to the Jagannath temple at Keredagarh in the district's Rajnagarr tehsil and have floated a new outfit, 'Dalit Manch', to take forward their stir.
"While dalits are free to enter temples elsewhere in the district, upper caste people have been keeping us from doing so here," Raj Kishore Muduli, convenor of the manch said.
"In case we are not allowed entry, we will embrace some other religion", he said.
The agitating dalits belonged to Sandhapalli, Ostia, Balisinghpatnam, Sanabada, Gopalpur and Keredagarh gram panchayats.
"We organised a meeting on October 22 and most members expressed their disgust at the denial of entry into the temple," Muduli, said adding that they had decided to launch a peaceful agitation on 'Kartika Purnima' (November 5).
District Collector Kashinath Sahu said he had asked the local tehsildar and the police to look into the matter and settle the row.
Refusal of entry to dalits triggered tension in the area a year ago after some women were allegedly penalised for "desecration", following which the National Human Rights Commission asked the local administration to inquire into the matter.