//Dalits denied entry at Hindu Temple : Tension palpable

Dalits denied entry at Hindu Temple : Tension palpable

Statesman News Service

KENDRAPARA, Nov 22: With the situation turning volatile and negotiated peace reaching a dead end, the district administration today served notices to 102 potential trouble makers under CRPC provisions in a last-ditch effort to stop anticipated caste conflict violence in Keredagada village.

As confrontation between the warring Dalits and the upper caste over Jagannath temple darshan dispute appears imminent the administration is forced to toughen its stand to meet with the exigencies of the situation, official sources said. Even as the sleepy Keredagada village wore the look of a cantonment with increasing number of armed police deployment, the governmental notices under section-107 CRPC were served to 102 persons from both the sections warning them to refrain from disruptive and law-breaking practices.

The prevailing tense situation was a fallout of Dalits’, resolved to stage a satyagraha march on 26 November to assert their right to Jagannath darshan in Keredagada temple which hitherto has been denied to them by the upper caste. Despite the Dalits pledging to maintain peace, the anticipated resistance from the rejuvenated upper caste has forced the government to gear up its law-enforcing agencies.

While 61 Dalits were served the notice, 41 from the upper caste were directed to maintain restraint and not to indulge in the breach of law and order. They have been asked to appear before the Kendrapara sub-collector on 25 November and execute a bond with Rs 5,000 surety and make a pledge to stop breach of peace in the region.
In the event that the noticed recipients ignore the legal provision and do not turn up, arrest warrant is going to be executed against the offenders, Kendrapara Sub Collector Mr. Prassana Kumar Hota said.

Meanwhile a deceptive calm pervades the air with residents found awe-struck as the armed police troops in and around the temple region. Such sight being a rarity in a remote coastal village like Keredagada, the residents are preferring to remain silent on the temple controversy. It should be noted here that a group of Dalit caste women had inadvertently entered into the said temple on November 2005 triggering sharp reaction from the upper caste.

The women devotees were reportedly penalized on temple desecration charge. The purported incident now under NHRC investigation steadily galvanised the Dalits to launch an orchestrated movement against the denial of darshan rights.