BHUBANESWAR: After four days of uncertainty, the administration on Sunday succeeded in making caste Hindus agree to allow Dalits enter the Jagannath temple in Keredagada village of Orissa’s Kendrapara district.
Tension gripped Keredagada and adjoining villages after hundreds of Dalits entered the temple on Thursday despite opposition from the upper caste people. The Dalit move was backed by a High Court order, which said all Hindus, irrespective of their caste, could enter any Hindu temple.
The Dalit entry into the 300-year-old shrine resulted in the priests and servitors deserting the temple and the upper castes observing a bandh in the area on Friday followed by a protest dharna on Saturday.
The rituals in the temple were resumed late on Saturday after the king of the erstwhile Kanika kingdom and interim trustee of the temple, Rabindra Narayan Bhanjdeo, visited the site and held discussions with the caste Hindus. They, however, did not respond to Mr. Bhanjdeo’s appeal to give up their opposition to Dalit entry into the temple.
Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Central) Suresh Mohapatra and Deputy Inspector-General (Central) S.K. Upadhyaya reached the area and held a meeting with representatives of both the Dalits and the upper castes and an agreement was reached.
It was decided at the meeting that the nine holes on the outer wall of the temple through which the Dalits had darshan of the deities from a distance in the past would be demolished and a new entrance would be constructed.