A Dalit family in Ullerahalli village in Malur taluk of the Kolar district in Karnataka was penalised Rs 60,000 after their son reportedly touched a pole during a religious procession.
The incident happened on September 8 when the 15-year-old boy, outside the village deity's temple, touched the pole affixed to the idol of Sidiranna, a prominent south Indian village deity. A villager noticed it, alleged an offence and asked the family to appear before the village elders.
What Is The Entire Matter?
The village residents held the Bhootayamma fair, wherein Dalits were prohibited from entering the deity's temple. The teenage son of Shobamma and Ramesh, outside the premises when the procession was carried out, touched the pole affixed to the idol of Sidiranna, wherein a villager noticed the episode.
Later, Shobamma met the village elders on September 9 and to her rude shock, she was asked to pay a penalty of Rs 60,000 with a deadline of up to October 1. She was told that if she failed to cough up the amount, she and her family would be "thrown out of the village".
The incident came to light on Monday (September 18) when she narrated her issue to some Dalit organisations in the district, reported The Indian Express.
What Did Village Elders Say?
As per the locals, Ullerahalli village comprises nearly 75-80 houses, and most families hail from the Vokkaliga community. Further, it has around 10 Scheduled Caste families in which Shobhamma's family resides on the outskirts of the village while her son studies in class 10 at a school in another Tekal village.
Shobhamma's husband, Ramesh, mostly remains ill, leaving the woman as the family's sole breadwinner. She works as a housekeeping staff at an apartment in Whitefield, Bengaluru, for which she boards a train every morning at 5:30 am and returns by 7:30 pm. She earns Rs 13,000 per month, and now a penalty of Rs 60,000 has come as a shock for the family.
The village elders told the woman that the idol had turned impure since a Dalit boy had touched it, and the fine amount would be used to purify and repaint it.
Meanwhile, the police invoked provisions of the Protection of Civil Rights Act against former Gram Panchayat member Narayanaswamy, Venkateshappa, the husband of the Gram Pradhan, panchayat vice-president and a few others.
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