Dalit boy fined Rs 60,000 for touching idol, eight upper caste Hindus booked

Photo: TNIE

The Karnataka Police booked eight upper caste Hindus on Wednesday after a Dalit boy touched an idol after which panchayat members fined the Dalit family Rs 60,000.

The incident happened in Kolar district’s Ullerahalli village earlier this month.

The police booked former panchayat member Narayana Swamy, village head’s husband Venkateshappa, the panchayat vice president and a few others under the provisions of Protection of Civil Rights Act.

On September 8, when the deity of Boothamma was taken in a procession, the 15-year-old Dalit boy touched the idol. Upper caste people called a panchayat and summoned the boy’s parents. They demanded that the family pays a fine of Rs 60,000 for touching the idol.

When the boy’s mother Shobha said she couldn’t pay up, the panchayat asked her to leave the village, the New Indian Express reported.

The family then approached Ambedkar Seva Samithi, a Dalit welfare organisation, that took the family to the police station and lodged a complaint.

“If God doesn’t like our touch or if people want to keep us away, what is the point of us offering prayers?” Shobha told The Indian Express. “Like any other person, I also have spent money, offered donations for God. Hereafter, I will not do any such thing and will only offer prayers to Dr BR Ambedkar.”

Following a complaint by boy’s mother Shobha, police registered a case under various sections of the SC/ST Act, against Narayanaswamy, Ramesh, Narayanaswamy (former GP member), Venkateshappa, Kotteppa, Chalapathy, Mohan Rao (archak) and Chinnaiah, all residents of Ullerahalli.