Hindu temple
Upper castes in Hassan district in Karnataka have fined dalit women for entering a hindu temple. [Representation Pic A temple priest adjusts the shield on a Goddess Durga statue)Reuters File

A group of dalit women who entered a Hindu temple in Karnataka were asked to pay a fine for defiling the worship place banned for the lower castes. 

The women were told that the fine collected from them will be used for the purification rituals of the temple located in Hassan district. 

According to The Hindu, the incident enraged the scheduled cast community in Sigaranahalli in Holenarsipur taluk. The women have refused to pay the penalty forced on them by 'upper caste' Hindus.

It all began on 31 August, when four women, part of a self-help group, decided to make a special prayer offering at the temple. The group consisted of nine upper caste Hindu women from Vokkaliga community and four dalit women. 

A local resident from the Vokkaliga community, identified as Devaraja, allegedly objected to the presence of the dalit women at the temple. When one of the women questioned him he even tried to beat her up, Thayamma, a former member of the Hariharpur Gram Panchayat, told The Hindu.

The women then left the temple but were soon asked to appear for a village meeting. In the meeting, the upper caste representatives imposed a fine of Rs 1,000 on the self-help group for taking dalit women to the temple. 

The representatives even requested the priest to hold special purification ceremony in the temple as the entry of the dalit women 'destroyed' its sanctity.

The local dalit people claim that this is just one of the several incidents of "discrimination" and "harassment" faced by the lower caste in Sigaranahalli.

The dalits allege that the lower caste are not even allowed to use the city community hall for holding marriages. In 2014, a dalit teenager was beaten up after he entered the community hall to have food at a wedding reception of an "upper caste."

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