`Untouchable' fined, beaten for entering Orissa village temple

April 4, 2001

BARGARH, APRIL 3: A low-caste man was recently beaten up and a fine of Rs 4,000 was imposed on him. The reason: he had entered a 'Kirtanya Mandap' organised by the upper caste at Ganda Turum village in Bhaden block. The incident lends credence to allegations often made by human rights groups that untouchability still prevails in parts of western Orissa.

According to reports, one Baktara Bag of Keshripali village came for the closing ceremony of 'Nama Yagyam' organised at Ganda Tarum village recently.Bag, who belongs to a Scheduled Caste enjoyed the bhajans from a distance. Overwhelmed by one bhajan, he rushed to the mandap to present a ten-rupee note to the singer.

This enraged the villagers who tied him up to an electricity pole and beat him up mercilessly. Later, Bag was taken to the village panchayat to decide on further punishment. The panchayat imposed a fine of Rs 4,000 on him which Bag promised to pay in a few days.

After returning to Keshripali village, Bag started arranging for the fine he had to pay the next day. Later, he came in touch with some youths who advised him against paying up and instead, lodge a complaint with the police. Accordingly, Bag lodged a complaint four days after the incident took place. Bheden police have registered a case against eight persons of the village. No one has been arrested so far. Investigation is on.

The villagers of Gand Tarum said Bag was in an inebriated condition when he entered the mandap and was wearing a 'lungi' and footwear in violation of tradition.

Source: The Indian Express
Referred by:Balram Sampla
Published on: April 6, 2001
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