Entry banned for Dalits here

 While campaigns and movements for the uplift of people belonging to Dalit community continues, here is a small village where Dalits are not allowed entry in the name of tradition.

The Chamundeshwari (Shiradi ammanavaru) temple at Kaginahare in Sakleshpur taluk is believed to be the abode of justice, and hundreds of devotees visit the temple every year to fulfill their vows. Not only are Dalits banned from entering the temple premises, but they are also not allowed to stay in the village.

There are about 22 houses in the village and not a single Dalit family lives here. Though people belonging to the community are hired as labourers, they are not allowed to stay back in the village.

Earlier, Shiradi ammanavaru, the presiding deity of the temple was worshipped amid the wilderness.

As devotees feared to venture into the forests, a temple was constructed in the village and pujas were being performed. However, special pujas are performed at the original place during the first Sunday of May, every year.

Thousands of devotees arrive from far off places to offer prayers.

Devotees even perform animal sacrifice on the day and hundreds of animals are sacrificed on Sundays. Politicians, officials and devotees from all communities offer prayers. However, dalits, Muslims and Christians are not allowed inside here.

Interestingly, only tribals are priests here and a tribal family is allowed to live in the village.

Raju, of the Temple Committee said that Dalits were not allowed entry till recently, as it is believed that they would bring bad luck. But asking devotees about their caste and community invited trouble, and now the devotees are not questioned about their castes and all are allowed entry to the temple.

The Police department also does not deploys Dalit employees during the annual festival. It is also said that a bus driver who was a Dalit was changed due to pressure exerted on KSRTC by influential persons.

Sakleshpur Assembly constituency comes under reserved category and even legislator H K Kumaraswamy keeps away from the temple as he is aware of the tradition, say Committee members.

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