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India: This Karnataka village won’t let Minister of Social Justice A Narayanaswamy enter temple because he is Dalit

Saturday 17 July 2021, by siawi3


This Karnataka village won’t let Minister of Social Justice A Narayanaswamy enter temple because he is Dalit

Posted On July 9, 2021

Pemmaanahalli Gollarahatti: It is a known fact that Dalits face discrimination in various walks of life even today. It became national news in 2019, when A. Narayanaswamy, a four-time legislator, former minister, sitting MP and a prominent Dalit leader from Karnataka, was denied entry to a village as he belongs to a scheduled caste.

The latest news is that he is still not welcome there even after assuming charge as Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment.

The village falls in the Chitradurga Lok Sabha constituency which is reserved for SC candidates.

The village Pemmanahalli Gollarahatti, located 150 kilometres away from Bengaluru near Pavagada in Tumakuru district, is deeply divided on whether the newly anointed minister should be allowed into the village and given entry into the community temple premises.

This fact came to light when IANS visited the village and spoke to the villagers on how they looked at the previous incident of preventing Narayanaswamy from entering the village as he belonged to a scheduled caste, and who has now gone on to be handpicked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a cabinet colleague.

‘How can we allow him into the village? If at all a felicitation had to be arranged, it should be arranged in a very close place to our village. We can never allow him into our temple,’ one of the villagers said angrily.

‘When he comes, a large number of people belonging to scheduled caste come with him. We can’t tolerate that. This should be done even if we have to spend a lakh or two from our side,’ he said.

Pennanahalli Gollarahatti has a 1,000-strong population and all of them belong to the Golla (Yadav) community. Till recently, women were kept outside their houses during menstrual days and pregnancy.

‘Timmarayappa, two time MLA from the constituency, never set foot into the village. He stood at a distance and told us he won’t enter. Traditions cannot be broken. We are not allowing them (Dalits) since the days of our grandfather. What is there in it,’ an elderly woman from the village explained.

A young woman said she did not know anything about MP Narayanaswamy becoming a minister in the central government. However, she maintained that traditions regarding caste cannot be broken.

A youth countered that even scheduled caste people did not allow anyone from other communities into their temples.

The Yajaman (head) of the village, Muddappa explained that after the 2019 incident the villagers had welcomed Narayanaswamy by showering flowers and even took him to their temple. An old man who told him not to enter died and a younger one had gone to Bengaluru.

‘I can convince the villagers if basic needs are fulfilled. People are looking forward to drinking water facility, construction of a school and mainly recognition of their land as revenue land,’ he explained.

There is no issue of caste here, it’s about development. ‘Our women did not wear a blouse, we have come a long way from there in terms of reformation’, he maintained.

Nagendra, a graduate from the village, said that traditions are rigid and can’t be broken easily. At the same time, we should strive to break them and bring change. ‘I am not concerned with the issue of whether he will be allowed or not allowed,’ he explained.

‘The property rights of the entire village are in the name of four people. If it is converted as revenue land, most problems will be solved as everyone gets property rights,’ he says.

Rakshitha, studying in the 10th standard, maintained that she wants the change in traditions with regard to the caste system.

When contacted by IANS, central minister Narayanaswamy said that he is not angry at half of the village continuing thinking of not allowing him into the temple and the village.

‘There is a need to change the mindset. We should also focus on eradicating blind beliefs among people,’ he maintained.

‘I will ensure all the development for the village and the entire taluka in coordination with the local MLA and other representatives. We will also focus on bringing reforms in north India where more cases of atrocities on Dalits are reported,’ he added.

On the evening of September 16, 2019, Narayanaswamy was blocked from entering Pemmanahalli Gollarahatti by villagers who maintained that no lower caste people ever entered their place.

The villagers got into an argument with Narayanaswamy who left the place as they did not budge even when he warned them of legal consequences.

However, Narayanaswamy did not choose to register a complaint in this regard. He insisted that though he was angry, he would focus on creating awareness.

When the issue blew up into a national controversy, the religious, political leaders had brokered peace and a grand function was held a month later and Narayanaswamy was received into the village.

Courtesy : Times Now News