16, Jan 2016
Jan 16 2016 : The Times of India (Mumbai)
For nearly 400 years, Dalits and women, all in the name of “tradition“, had been barred from entering the famous Parsuram temple in Garhwal’s Jaunsar Bawar region. All that is set to change now with the management of the Parsuram temple announcing that “everyone will in future be welcome“.
But Dalit leaders and activists, who said they had been fighting a bitter battle to end this discrimination, said the war was yet to be won as 339 other temples in the region still have the ban.
The decision, the temple’s management said, has been taken “in a bid to move with the times“. Chairman of the committee, Jawahar Singh Chauhan, told TOI on Friday , “This region is on the path of progress. Our literacy rate has gone up and people want scenarios to change.“
In the past few months, Dalits of the region had held several protests condemning these strictures. Temple authorities, however, justified the prohibition that was in place till now and said there really had been no official rule stopping Dalits from coming to the temple. “Dalits are hesitant to enter the temple premises because of certain beliefs. We want to send out a message that everyone is equal before the Almighty and no one can be stopped from en tering a place of worship,“ Chauhan added.