A woman police sub-inspector performed the role of a ‘pandit’ in setting up the idol of Godess Durga in village Kotra in district Damoh, Madhya Pradesh after Brahmins refused to do so.
The idol was being set up by village dalits as part of the ongoing Durga puja celebrations but the village Brahmins felt dalits should not be allowed to do so.
Dalits of village Kotra bought the idol of the Goddess and had also informed the village ‘pandit’ beforehand, but the pandit refused to come. The dalits saw it as caste discrimination and informed the police.
Sub-inspector Anjali Udayniya, who reached the village told the dalits that she too was a Bahmin and knew how to perform the rituals.
The dalits were more than happy in allowing the sub-inspector to perform the puja.
According to Kripalu, the dalits informed the police only after Brahmins tried to pressurise them saying they could not install the idol of the goddess.
“We had consulted the village priest before bringing the Idol. At that time the priest said he would perform all the rituals but refused at the last moment due to pressure from other village brahmins. He also tried to pressurise the dalits not to install the idol of the Goddess. It was only after this that we decided to inform the police,” Kripalu said.
The police, however, have not registered a case against any upper caste member of the village.
Sub Inspector Anjali Udaynia while trying to play down the incident said, “I came to know that the dalits were not able to set up the idol of the goddess because of non availability of the temple priest. I told them that I too was a brahmin and they were more than happy. There is no caste conflict in the village as such,” she said. The village priest who joined the puja as the police sub-inspector performed the rituals said he had nothing against the dalits setting up the idol and could not come as he had to perform puja elsewhere.