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Dalit students ‘prevented’ from offering prayers to Lord Ganesha in Kendrapara

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OST Bureau

Kendrapara Sep 10 :

A group of Dalit students were allegedly prevented from offering prayers to Lord Ganesha and beaten up by some upper caste people in a government-run school, resulting in tension in Chakoda-Gogua village of the district, police said on Monday.

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The dalit students said they had gone to offer prayers to the deity along with other upper caste students in the Chakoda-Gogua High School, but were allegedly stopped from doing so and beaten up by some upper caste villagers.

Police rushed to the village to prevent escalation of tension in the area.

No FIR has been lodged in this connection as yet, Superintendent of Police Rabi Narayan Behera said.

The village, with a population of about 1,000 including 300 dalits , had never witnessed caste-related conflicts in the past.

“Teachers and guardians of some upper caste students committed the offence for which they should be arrested immediately”,  dalit leader and president of Ambedkar-Lohia Vichar Manch, Rabindra Nath Sethi said.

The dalit students are deeply hurt by the caste-based discrimination, Sethi said adding promotion of caste bias in government-run schools was’ most unfortunate’.

“Some teachers and guardians of upper caste students prevented us from worshipping the deity in the school and hurled abusive languages when we tried to offer prayers. We were scolded and manhandled,” alleged a class X student of the school.

“Some upper caste villagers beat up dalit students. They also instigated the teachers not to allow them to offer prayers to the deity in the school,” dalit leader Ashok Mallick alleged.

The school authorities were not available for comment.

(With inputs from PTI )

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