A Dalit man by the name of Ravi was carried on shoulders inside the Sri Laxmi Ranganatha Swamy Temple (Ranganayakula Gutta) by Krishna Chaitanya, a priest (archaka) from Bhadrachalam Narsimha Swamy temple on Monday in Khammam, Telangana. Ravi was dressed as Vaishnava Namam, the revered Tiruppanalwar.
The gesture was conducted as a part of ‘Munivahana Utsavam’ by the Samajika Samarasatha Vedika, Temples Protection Movement (TPM) along with Narsimha Vahini. The event began with the garlanding of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue. Hundreds of women took out a large Shobha Yatra on both sides of the street.
Chilkur Balaji Temple’s head priest CS Rangarajan said, “The idea is to show that Sanatana Dharma treats everyone as equal before God and the so-called discrimination crept into the system only in recent times.” In April 2018, Rangarajan carried a Dalit devotee Aditya Parasri to Ranganatha Swamy Temple in Jiyagudu with much fanfare.
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The gesture is seen as a celebration of the teachings of Bhagawad Ramanuja. He was a Vaishnava guru who wanted to establish a non- discriminatory and egalitarian society.
The story comes as a ray of home at a time when several cases of atrocities against Dalits had come to light. A 24-year-old Dhaniram Ahirwar, who belonged to the Dalit community was set on fire by pouring kerosene on him in January in Madhya Pradesh by around 15-20 Muslim men.
Recently, in the Congress-ruled state of Rajasthan, two Dalit men were seen being brutally abused, and tortured by a group of men. Last year in September, a minor Dalit girl was raped by Mohammed Adil alias Chhotka, Mohammad Abid alias Badka and Mohammad Nazim in the Sarai Akil area of Kaushambi district.
Read: Fact-Check: Are Dalits not allowed to enter the Gorakhnath Temple, as claimed by India Today
On Tuesday, a rabid Islamist associated with the Indian Express, Irene Akbar, said that she never trusted ‘them’ as Dalits were ‘foot soldiers’ when communal riots broke out in Gujarat after a Muslim mob set a train compartment of Kar Sevaks returning from Ayodhya on fire in Godhra.