The government’s move is aimed at ending discrimination at temples and comes in the backdrop of reports that some of them continue to give priority to devotees on the basis of caste affiliations
TNN | Nov 23, 2016, 12.30 AM IST
“The idea is to tell people there’ll be no preferential treatment inside a temple and that all devotees will be treated equally. They can walk in without apprehensions,” said a senior IAS officer. The order also comes with a word of caution: “All temples, including the privately owed ones, are centres of devotion and it is the God-given right of every devotee to seek blessings. All devotees are equal in the eyes of God. Moreover, Article 15 of the Constitution mentions that the state shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds of religion, caste, race, sex and place of birth. If any of the temples, including the private ones, prohibit certain sections from entering its premises , it will be termed illegal.”
According to sources, the order has been issued in the backdrop of the ‘Chalo Udupi’ campaign undertaken in the second week of October by a few progressive groups protesting discrimination against dalits. While the groups opposed “Pankti Bedha” (the discriminatory practice of having separate seating arrangements for Brahmins) followed in Udupi mutts, Pejawar Mutt pontiff Sri Vishwesha Thirtha Swamiji refuted the allegations, saying some orthodox Brahmins demand a separate place to have food as they follow some rituals before meals. Though the government didn’t openly react to the controversy, it passed the order which disapproves of any form of discrimination in the name of rituals.