March 24, 2017 – 12:49 PM
The Hassan district administration has failed to convince a section of Dalits in Chakenahalli of the Holenarsipur taluk against participating in the risky ritual of ‘Sidi’ during the two-day annual fair of Udusalamma temple beginning Friday. Dalits, who take part in the ritual regularly, have told the administration that they take part in it “voluntarily” to fulfil a religious vow.
The ritual involves men being tied to a wooden pole with hooks inserted in their bodies and women walking with their mouths locked with iron hooks.
A controversy broke out after some members of the family refused to participate this year and wanted the district administration to intervene and stop the ritual. After the Hassan district unit of the Dalit Hakkugala Samiti appealed to the administration to stop the ritual, H.L. Nagaraj, Assistant Commissioner, Renukumar, tahsildar of Holenarsipur, and senior police officers held meetings with representatives of the villages. “We told them that the government would not allow such rituals. But four persons (Dalits) have given a statement that they would take part voluntarily,” Mr. Renukumar said.
The Dalits believe that their forefathers stole paddy from a rich farmer’s house and were saved from his wrath by deity Udusalamma. They believe the deity saved them after they promised to take part in the ritual.