A Dalit woman in Madhya Pradesh's Khargone district was denied entry into a Shiv temple and offer prayers on the occasion of Mahashivratri because of her caste. The priest of the temple stopped her at the premises.
A complaint was registered under section 505 (promoting enmity between two groups) and three other SC/ST Act sections. The priest, Vijay Barvey, and two others have now been arrested.
The incident was reported from Dendla village on March 1 but came to light after the video of the woman went viral on social media. In the clip, the woman identified as Pooja Khande was seen holding an aarti thali in her hand and urging people, including the priest, to allow her in the temple complex to offer puja, The Indian Express reported.
'No Right To Offer Prayers'
Despite multiple requests, the priest did not allow her. He stood up infront of her and claimed that a Harijan could not enter the temple, and they didn't have the right to do a Puja. They can offer prayers from outside the complex, the priest had said.
To this, Kande questioned if the law or the Constitution established it. The priest said that he would check with the head and get back.
Discrimination At Peak
Realising there was no way out, the woman threatened the priest and informed the police. The priest is also seen in the video making calls. Speaking to the media, the woman informed the priest had asked all the Dalits not to enter the temple.
"I want people to ask him as to who is the head of his community which makes such rules. Around 100-200 people were standing there, they seemed educated and aware, yet they did not allow me inside," she said.
Police Assured Inquiry
Kande said that she reached out to the Superintendent of Police, who assured initiating an inquiry into the matter. Town Inspector Dinesh Khushwana said the department had not received any complaint earlier, but after the video went viral, the police personnel went to the woman's house and following registered a complaint.