Gujarat: Agent Dalit expelled from the temple, rejected the food

RAJKOT: A police officer from Dalit lok rakshak has filed a complaint against the priest and two cooks in a temple in the Devbhoomi Dwarka district after he was allegedly expelled from the temple due to his caste.

Agent Jayesh Khara, 29, who serves the Bhanwad police station in Jamjodhpur Taluka, called Hansgiri Bapu, the priest of the Gopnath Mahadev temple, the chef Babu Patel and his assistant Sanjay, in the complaint. Khara said he had gone to look for tiffin from the temple kitchen to his colleague on Saturday night when Patel asked about his caste. When Khara said he was a Dalit, Patel and Sanjay allegedly expelled him and asked him to wait outside the temple.

In his complaint filed at the Jamjodhpur police station, Khara said he later approached Hansgiri Bapu to address the problem with him, but the priest allegedly backed Patel and Sanjay and told him not to cancel them. According to the agent, Bapu told him that, like Dalit, his entry was prohibited in the temple premises and that the sadhus cannot eat the food touched by him.

Apparently, Khara was asked to wait outside the premises for the tiffin.

When I asked them why they discriminated between the upper and lower castes and they were all supposed to be the same inside the temple, Patel and Sanjay told me it was the temple's rule, he said in the complaint.

There was an intense verbal duel between him and the priest when he, angry, suggested that they put a board prohibiting Dalit from entering the temple. Khara told police that the furious Hansgiri Bapu challenged him to file a complaint after the tiff.

Khara then informed the Devbhoomi Dwarka control room and filed a complaint at the Jamjodhpur police station on Sunday night.

J S Chawda, deputy police superintendent, ST/CS Cell, told TOI: “We visited the temple to gather evidence of the alleged incident. Currently, we are in the process of registering the eyewitness statements.

The wireless control room in Gop Dungar transmits messages to Devbhoomi Dwarka and the police control rooms. An agent from each district is deployed for a week in this control room. The town of Moti Gop is three km from Gop Dungar. As there is no human room on the hill, with the exception of the Gopnath Mahadev Temple, the agents deployed in the control room have to rely on the temple for meals. While one agent stays in the control room, the other goes to the temple to eat and looks for the tiffin for his colleague.

“I have served in the control room of Gop Dungar several times in the past and have eaten in the temple kitchen. However, this was for the first time, they asked me about my caste and humiliated me, ”said Khara.