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Dalit family fined Rs 60k for touching idol in Karnataka

Dalit family fined Rs 60k for touching idol in Karnataka

A Dalit boy in Karnataka’s Kolar district was fined Rs 60,000 after touching an idol of a Hindu god, now the family removed images of Hindu deities from their home and put up images of Buddha and Babasaheb.

Dalit family fined in Karnataka

On September 8, the villagers were celebrating the Bhootayamma fair and Dalits were not allowed to enter the temple of the village deity. Shobamma’s 15-year-old son, who was outside when a procession took place in the village, touched a pole attached to the idol of Sidiranna, a prominent South Indian village deity.

On September 9, Shobamma was asked to pay a fine of Rs 60,000 before October 1. He was also told that if he did not pay the fine, he would be “expelled from town”. “I get a salary of Rs 13,000 and that is all we have to run the house. The Rs 60,000 fine was a shock to us,” Shobamma said.

Dalits were restricted from entering the temple dedicated to the village god on September 8 as villagers celebrated the Bhootayamma fair. Shoba and Ramesh’s 15-year-old son touched a post attached to the idol of Sidiranna, a well-known village deity, during this.

A villager named Venkateshappa noticed him and claimed that he was against the village code of conduct. The boy’s family was then asked to appear before the village elders the following day, according to the summons.

Shobamma’s family

According to locals, there are about 75-80 families in the village, and most of them belong to the Vokkaliga community, categorized as “upper caste” in Karanataka. Shobamma’s family is among 10 Scheduled Caste (SC) families living on the outskirts of the village. His son is now a Class X student in the nearby town of Tekal.

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Shobamma is the sole breadwinner in the family and she earns about Rs 13,000 a month working as a domestic worker in Whitefield, Bangalore. Her husband is mostly ill and cannot contribute to the family income.

Shobamma said she was told that the idol had become impure since a Dalit boy had touched it and that they needed to purify it and repaint the idol and that the good amount would be used for the work, Indian Express reported.

Sandesh, a Dalit activist who leads Ambedkar Seva Samithi, said he learned of the incident on Monday night and rushed to meet the family. “I went to their house and helped them file a police report. Even after 75 years of independence, if such social ills are still in practice, where will poor people go? he questioned him.

Job for Shobamma

Kolar Deputy Commissioner Venkat Raja said he visited the village on Wednesday and met the family. “We have given them a piece of land to build a house and we have paid them some money. We will also provide a job for Shobamma at the welfare hostel. I have also informed the police to arrest the accused as soon as possible and they are already on it,” Raja said.

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