Orissa temple ‘purified’ after Dalit minister’s visit

January 14th, 2009 - 11:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Jan 14 (IANS) A purification ritual was performed in a Hindu temple in Orissa Wednesday after a Dalit minister visited the place of worship, a priest said.Women and Child Welfare Minister Pramila Mallick entered the sanctum sanctorum of the Akhandalamani temple, a highly revered shrine of Hindu lord Shiva at Aradi village in Bhadrak district, some 150 km from here.

Temple chief priest Gokulananda Panda said they performed the purification ritual because Dalits were not allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum.

The priests closed the temple for over an hour and washed it soon after the minister left, Panda said.

Mallik said she had visited the temple along with her family but didn’t know if purification ritual was performed following her entry.

Dalits in Orissa are barred from entering many Hindu temples.

In November 2004, villagers beat up four Dalit women for entering an 18th century Jagannath temple at Keradagarh village in the coastal district of Kendrapada.

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