Dalit women allege denial of entry in Gujarat temple

Tags: , , , , ,

Some Dalit women from a village in Gujarats Botad district have alleged they were denied entry inside a Lord Shiva temple by villagers, police said today. However, local police said that women in general are not allowed entry into the newly-constructed temple in the district, around 160 kms away from here. The incident occurred yesterday when some Dalit women had gone to the temple to offer prayers to the deity on the occasion of the Hindu month of Shravan, considered auspicious by devotees of Lord Shiva, a police official said. A woman who was part of the group of devotees said, We were not allowed entry into the temple because we are Dalits. However, Ranpur police sub-inspector S N Ramani said the villagers had banned entry of women inside the temple irrespective of the caste affiliation. The women could only pray from outside but cannot enter the temple, he said, adding that a board has also been put up banning the entry of women. However, Dalit women alleged that villagers singled them out because of their caste. When the Dalit women went to perform worship at the temple, they were stopped by villagers as women from no community are allowed entry into the temple, said Ramani. He said a team of police officials discussed the issue with village elders. On intervention of police, the villagers assured us that they will allow the entry of all women inside the temple, Ramani said. Botad Superintendent of Police Sajansinh Parmar said a team of police personnel was sent to the spot to resolve the matter. Some Dalit women said they were being denied entry inside the village temple. However, the temple bans entry to women from all communities. Police were sent to talk to the villagers and resolve the matter, he said.