Is discrimination practiced in temples? If so, what sort of discrimination is practiced? What are the reasons behind this practice? What social changes are affected through this discrimination? How can we rectify this problem? What are the recommendations to be followed? To find answers for the above questions, our EVIDENCE team conducted this study discrimination in temples.
This research was conducted in 85 Panchayats in five districts: Madurai, Tirunelveli, Virudhunagar, Sivagangai and Dindugal. The questionnaire form used contained 38 questions in three parts. Our five fact finding teams conducted this study. Among 85 Panchayats, 18 Panchayat presidents reported that “discrimination persists in their village,” confirming their testimony by signing the questionnaire form. All forms were confirmed by signatures. Our fact finding team also photographed some temples where discrimination was practiced.
Discrimination at temples
From our study we found that temple discrimination is practiced in all 85 Panchayats surveyed. Among 85 Panchayats in 69 villages, dalits are denied from entering the local temple. In 72 temples, dalits were denied from entering Sanidhanam. In 56 temples, dalits were denied from performing Archanai. In 54 villages, deity processions are not allowed though dalit residing areas. In 56 villages, dalits are discriminated against during worship. In 52 temples, an event Parivattam has been rejected for dalits. In 33 villages, dalits are denied from an event vadam pidithal. 59 temples practice discrimination for dalits in providing prasatham. In 65 villages, priests and saints show discrimination against dalits. In 64 villages, dalits are denied from participating in cultural events or temple festivals. In 60 villages, discrimination is evident during the event Palkudam and Firepot.
Violations and atrocities
Our study found that in 49 temples, atrocities had occurred. In 47 temples, dalits were abused on caste basis. In 42 temples, dalits were abused with filthy language. In 37 temples, dalits were teased. In 20 temples, dalits were sexually abused. In 8 temples, dalits we’re sexually assaulted. In 30 temples, dalits were subject to brutal attacks. In 43 villages, dalits were threatened…