5 held for fining Dalit family over entry of 2-year-old boy into temple

The Karnataka Police have arrested five persons in connection with fining a Dalit family after their 2-year-old boy entered the village Hanuman temple on his birthday to pray, said police sources on Thursday.

The arrested were identified as Kanakappa Poojari, Hanuma Gouda, Gavisiddappa Myageri, Virupakshagouda Myageri and SharanaGouda. They have been booked under IPC Sections 504, 149, SC-ST Act 2005 by jurisdictional Kushtagi police.

However, the father of the Dalit boy has not lodged a complaint and the police department has taken suo motu cognizance of the offence. The father has told police, he would lodge a complaint only if he is troubled by the upper caste again.

The parents of the 2-year-old Dalit boy were fined Rs 23,000 as the boy entered Hanuman temple in Miyapura.

The toddler was taken near the Hanuman temple of the village by his father on his birthday. As Dalits were not allowed inside the temple, they always prayed from outside standing in front of the temple to the deity.

The father wanted to pray from outside along with his son. Even as it rained father stood outside the temple and prayed. However, the toddler in excitement ran inside the temple. The incident took place on September 4.

This became an issue as upper caste villagers thought that the temple was desecrated. They held a meeting on September 11 and asked the parents of the boy to pay Rs 23,000 as fine which is going to be used to carry out purification rituals of the temple.

However, the district administration which came to know about the development sent officers from the police, revenue and social welfare departments to the village. The officers conducted an awareness programme regarding the untouchability for all villagers.

The officers have taken the members of upper caste to task for imposing fine on the Dalit boy for entering the temple and let them off after warning them of legal action if their act was repeated.

T.Sridhar, Superintendent of Police, Koppal also visited the spot. The culprits were admonished. They apologised to the father of the boy. Though the police went to the house of the victims to convince them to lodge a complaint, the community elders decided not to lodge a complaint. The team of government officers have also visited the village and conducted an awareness programme. Further investigation is on.