Kendrapara (Orissa): About 1,200 dalits threatened to embrace some other religion if they are not allowed into a Hindu temple.
The dalits are peeved at being barred from entering 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 barring us from doing so here,” Raj Kishore Muduli, convener of the manch said.
The agitating dalits belong to Sandhapalli, Ostia, Balisinghpatnam, Sanabada, Gopalpur and Keredagarh gram panchayats. Muduli said that they had decided to launch a peaceful agitation on ‘Kartika Purnima’.
District collector Kashinath Sahu said he had asked the local tehsildar and police to look into the matter.
Refusal of entry of Dalits into the temple had 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 step in.