Tamil Nadu— Recently, members of the Dalit community in a village located in Tiruvannamalai district of Tamil Nadu made a historic breakthrough. After a span of 80 years, they successfully entered the Muthumariyamman temple in their village, which they had been previously forbidden from accessing due to their caste.
The community had expressed their grievances to the government, stating that they were being denied the right to pray inside the temple due to discrimination based on their caste. The temple was managed by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu, which made the villagers seek assistance from the District Administration to facilitate their entry during the ongoing Pongal celebrations.
The Administration arranged a conciliatory meeting between the members of the Scheduled Caste community and the dominant Hindu caste in the village however the mediation was unsuccessful.
Despite opposition from the dominant Hindu caste in the village, the District Administration decided to proceed with their plans to allow the entry of Dalits into the restricted temple. To ensure the success of this historic event, 500 policemen were deployed to escort around 300 Dalits into the temple premises. They carried ingredients necessary to prepare the dish "Pongal", associated with the festival.
However, the entry was not without conflict, as thousands of protesters assembled around the temple to voice their objections. Despite this, the District Administration stood firm in their efforts to promote equality and constitutional rights for the Scheduled Castes.The event follows similar measures taken in other districts of Tamil Nadu, where the administration has worked to grant Scheduled Castes access to temples previously restricted to them. January 30th, the death anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, is celebrated as Anti-Untouchability Day in Tamil Nadu, emphasizing the importance of promoting equality and ending discrimination based on caste.
In the state of Uttarakhand, the government is working to compile a list of temples where Dalits are not allowed to enter, with the aim of ending the practice of untouchability in the state's temples, also known as Dev Bhoomi.