BELTHANGADY: Though it has been over six decades since India got freedom, untouchability still prevails in the country, Veerabhadra Channamalla Swami of Nidumamidi said on Monday.
He was addressing the gathering after inaugurating the Sahapankti Bojana (mass feeding) programme, and a seminar organised by Dalita Hakkugala Horata Samiti of Beltangady at Melanthabettu Kellakere Dalit Colony.
He said there is a need to change the mindset of upper caste people to root out this “barbaric practice.”
Channamalla Swami said though dalits are educated, they are still subjected to discrimination by the upper castes. Political and religious leaders have been condemning untouchability, he said.
“However, their voice has not reached the masses. Dalits should not be disappointed as elimination of such a practice is not possible in a short span of time. It is a social malady that needs to be treated,” Channamalla Swami said.
Shubha, a dalit woman, said: “Nobody from the upper caste has visited my house till date. However, today I got an opportunity to serve food to five seers. I will not forget this day.”
Basavanagideva Sharana of Chalavadi Mahasamstana in Chitradurga, Muddanna Swami of Tumakuru and Mysuru-based Jnana Prakash Swami of Shivayogishwar Mutt among others were present.
However, seers from Dakshina Kannada district did not attend the programme, though their names were mentioned in the invitation. Even the food was prepared by the dalits.
Adivasi Hakkugala Samanvaya Samiti state convener S Y Gurushanth presided over the programme. Dalita Hakkugala Horata Samiti convener L Shekhar, district convener Krishnappa Konchady and MAHE University Professor Vanitha were present.