MYSORE: Around 60 Dalit families who have been denied entry into a temple during the local Dodda Ankada Maramma jathra in Kalana Hundi of Chamrajnagar taluk have threatened to embrace Buddhism in protest against discrimination. Due to continued discrimination, the jathra, which is celebrated by taking out a procession of local deities, was stopped in 1999.
However, the upper castes have decided to celebrate the festival. Dalits, who protested against their ban in hotels and temples, also objected to temple rituals where offerings by Dalits were sprinkled with water before being placed before the deity. They approached the district administration alleging untouchability and urged the authorities to stop the festival to end this discrimination.
Mahesh, a Dalit youth, said the Dalit Colony has not been getting sufficient water since the day they lodged a police compliant. The district administration has sought a report from the police.
“The police assured us that they would look into our grouse. But how can we trust them when they have failed to act on our complaints for so long?” he asked. They even blamed the local leaders of spreading hatred by encouraging their own community to celebrate the festival and keeping away Dalits.
“Why practise a tradition that has no respect for Dalits or does not believe in equality?” asked Narashimamurthy, a folk artiste. Meanwhile, villagers opposed any move to seize the chariot and other temple accessories that belonged to the village.