Uttarakhand to compile list of temples that bar Dalits

DEHRADUN: In a first-of-its-kind move, Uttarakhand’s State Commission for Scheduled Castes (SCSC) has asked all 13 district administrations to compile a list of temples and

other religious places where Dalits are still not allowed. This comes a week after a 22-year-old Dalit man was allegedly attacked with burning logs at a temple in

Uttarkashi’s Mori area when he tried to enter it on January 9. On January 11, the man’s father lodged a police complaint against five upper-caste men, who were arrested

subsequently. SCSC chairman Mukesh Kumar told TOI, “We don’t have a list yet, but decided to get one after the shocking Uttarkashi incident. Based on the list, the local

administration will first try to reason with those discriminating against Dalits. If they don’t relent, they’ll be booked under relevant laws. As of now, the commission takes

cognisance after getting to know about such incidents through news reports and social media posts.” He added that the DMs and SPs of the districts have been directed to take

“strictest possible action against the accused in such illegal acts.” “If the prohibition applies to all devotees due to certain traditions at a temple, that is acceptable.

But if it applies only to Dalits or lower-caste devotees, that is absolutely unacceptable and we will take action to stop it,” Kumar said. Another SCSC official told TOI,

“So far, we have identified at least three districts where caste discrimination is rampant: Uttarkashi, Almora and Champawat. This exercise will help us gauge the extent of the

problem.”