Defying discrimination, SC community leaders enter Kerala’s Jatadhari temple

Defying discrimination, SC community leaders enter Kerala’s Jatadhari temple

PKS district president M K Panicker, secretary B M Pradeep, joint secretaries Chandran Kokkal and S Sheni — all from Scheduled Caste communities — took the 18-step stairway to the temple.

Published: 16th November 2021 06:31 AM

KASARAGOD: Leaders of the Pattikajathi Kshema Samithi (PKS) — a CPM organisation for the welfare of Scheduled Caste — defied the discriminatory practices and entered Shri Jatadhari Devasthanam at Badiyar in Swarga of Enmakaje panchayat.

The temple remains shut for the past three years after Scheduled Caste community members and Adivasis demanded they be given access to the main entrance, allowed to drop money in the offertory plate and end the discriminatory practice of serving them food (prasadam) last, after the upper caste community members had their fill.

PKS district president MK Panicker, secretary BM Pradeep, joint secretaries Chandran Kokkal and S Sheni — all from Scheduled Caste communities — took the 18-step stairway to the temple. As the main gate was closed, they took the back gate to enter the temple courtyard. Scheduled Caste communities and Adivasis are not allowed to step into the courtyard.

“We defied the practices to show that there was no rationale behind the prohibition. We also wanted them (upper caste members) to treat people from other communities as humans and end the caste discrimination,” said PKS district secretary Pradeep. On November 1, TNIE had reported about the practices.

Council wants to initiate talks with Brahmin families

Four Brahmin families control the temple, which belongs to the public. The families locked it three years ago after members of the oppressed communities filed a police complaint against the discriminatory practices. The police tried to strike a compromise and did not file an FIR. Pradeep said one of the Brahmin families was open to ending the discriminatory practices.

The PKS (Pattikajathi Kshema Samithi) also said Devaswom Minister K Radhakrishnan, who belongs to a Scheduled Caste community, and Rajya Sabha member K Somaprasad, the state secretary of PKS, are likely to visit the temple.

Krishna Mohana, 45, a member of the Moger community, who is fighting for equal rights in the temple, said they did not want to break the lock and enter the temple. “We are devotees of Jatadhari. We want the temple to be opened by those who closed it. We won’t force our way in,” said Krishna.

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