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Lower Caste Hindu Fined For Touching Goddess

on 2000/11/29 8:49:02 ( 1645 reads )


CALCUTTA, INDIA: A Hindu lower-caste "untouchable" family in eastern India is to appeal to the human rights commission after being fined for touching a statue of the Goddess Kali. According to villagers, one family member, Malati Sith, entered a Kali temple and touched the forehead of the statue, angering the upper caste brahmin community in Pursurah village, near Calcutta. The brahmins called a special meeting and imposed the extraordinary fine of 8,000 rupees (US$173) on the family to meet the cost of purifying the icon. "We would have to sell off all our valuables to pay the fine," said Sith's husband Madan Mohon. The temple priests insisted they acted correctly. "We are abiding by the rules of the temple," said head priest Sufal Chakaborty. Although discrimination on the grounds of caste is illegal in India, it continues in many forms. This is an unusual case because it would be a grave offense for anyone, regardless of caste, to enter the inner sanctum, let alone touch the Deity, without the express authorization of the temple priests. At least it would be a form of trespassing. A local village committee member Asit Patra said they were "investigating the matter."

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