A Scheduled Caste (SC) person had to pay a heavy price after a ‘sacred flower’ fell into his lap during an ‘elite’ religious ceremony held at a fair in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu district.
The holy flower – considered as the ‘flower of fortune’ by believers of the ritual – falling in the hands of anyone other than an upper caste member is considered ‘inauspicious’, which is now spiralling into a controversy. As per the century-old tradition, only residents of a few villages in the area have the ‘right to catch the holy flower.’
The SC victim, Lal Chand of Shalbad village in Kullu, was allegedly forced to pay a ‘penalty’ of Rs 5,001 because the ‘holy flower’ accidentally fell in his lap. Chand alleges he was manhandled by members of the upper caste community, who later asked him to pay the fine, reported Deccan Herald
Chand lodged a police complaint under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act against people responsible for the temple ceremony.
This has left Rajputs and Brahmins of the area angry. A protest has been planned on Tuesday by upper caste members against the developments that have unfolded. Upper caste members from 70 villages in the area have threatened to hit the streets against the alleged misuse of the Act.
Chand said he along with his friends had gone to attend the ‘Fagli fair’, when the incident took place. As per the ritual, the flower of fortune is thrown at the crowd. The flower fell on him, he said, which is when members of the upper caste community started to agitate, maintaining that the holy flower falling on an SC person was ‘inauspicious’. He also claimed that his friends were roughed up.
State vice president of the Akhil Bharatiya Kshatriya Mahasabha (ABKM) Jitinder Rajpoot claimed that the complainant was twisting the facts. He said they visited the site after the incident and interacted with locals there and found the version of the complainant bereft of facts.