Koppal, Sept 22: Five people have been arrested for allegedly seeking to fine a Dalit family of Rs 25,000 for "purification" of the Hanuman temple in Miyapur village in the district after their two-year-old son entered it, police said on Wednesday.
"We have arrested five people in connection with the case," the superintendent of police T Sreedhara said.
According to the official, the incident took place on September 4 and it came to light only on Monday following which a case was registered. "The Dalit family was reluctant to lodge a complaint," Sreedhara added.
Chandrashekhar belonging to the Chennadasar community wished to seek the blessings of Hanuman for his two-year-old son on his birthday on September four. "Chandrashekhar and his family members were standing outside but the boy ran inside the temple, which irked the temple priest who sought to make it an issue," they added. Some others from "upper castes" sided with the priest, and a meeting was held on September 11 where they demanded Rs 25,000 towards the expenditure for the "purification" of the temple. However, other villagers from upper castes opposed the move terming it 'harsh.'
The episode sparked a debate in the village and came to the notice of the Kushtagi police. The family was afraid to approach the police fearing backlash from sections upper caste. Some members of the Koppal district Chennadasar Mahasabha too visited the village and held meetings, leading to a tense atmosphere.
Based on a complaint by Social Welfare Department assistant director Balachandra Sanganal, the case was registered on Tuesday. In the past two days, the district administration conducted a series of public meetings to sensitise people of the village against the evil of casteism and its impact on society. Further, a grand Pooja was organised where all the communities of the village took part including Chennadasars in the presence of police.