Dalits enter a temple in TN for the first time in 80 years


A remarkable initiative by the district government and police allowed hundreds of people from Tamil Nadu’s Tiruvannamalai district’s Scheduled Castes to enter a temple for the first time. People have apparently been denied entry to the temple for nearly eight decades.

During the late evening of January 29, members of the SC community led by SP Karthikeyan and district collector Murugesh marched to the Mariyamman Temple, which is owned by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department and is located in Thandarampattu’s neighboring village of Thenmudianur in Tiruvannamalai district. With police protection, more than 150 individuals visited the shrine and saw the deity yesterday.

According to SC community members, they requested permission to participate in the temple’s recent one-day Pongal festival but were rejected. Following this, the disgruntled members filed a complaint with the HR&CE department, requesting permission to enter the temple. When the authorities investigated the matter, they learned that they had been forbidden from the temple for 80 years, according to an official.

Along with the police squad commanded by District Superintendent of Police Karthikeyan, the village was brought under control on January 29. Meanwhile, they were negotiating with the majority community, which was allegedly opposed to Dalits visiting the temple. People began to protest when the Scheduled Caste people were refused entry. As the protestors disagreed with officials despite two-hour negotiations, the police warned to lock and seal the temple if Dalits were not allowed to enter inside and erected barricades.

The District Collector mentioned that they will soon bring an equality mindset among the people.