New Delhi: The central government has approached the Supreme Court seeking ban on a temple ritual, practised in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, wherein Dalits roll over plantain leaves with the leftover foods eaten by Brahmins to 'cure diseases' and solve other problems.
According to a report in Hindustan Times, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment said the ritual, called ‘made snana,’ is “inhuman and superstitious.” But the defendants have contended that the practice is voluntary and claimed that it does not discriminate on the basis of caste.
The government, however, has sought a ban on the ritual, saying it affects the dignity and health of those performing it.
“These rituals may be voluntary but since human dignity and health of concerned persons is affected and are against constitutional value of justice, equality and human dignity, they ought not to be defended under Article 25 of the Constitution of India which relates to right to freedom of religion,” an affidavit by the Centre reads.
In Karnataka, the ritual is performed during the three-day annual celebrations at Kukke Subrahmanya in South Canara district of Karnataka sometime between November and December.
In Tamil Nadu, devotees carry out the ritual in April every year during the annual Aradhana festival of the Nerur Sadasiva Bharmendrai Temple in Karur district.
The BJP-led NDA government’s move can be seen as an attempt to woo the Dailt community in the wake of the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Goa.
Dalits have recently come under attack in parts of the country, including in Una in Gujarat where four Dalit youths were lashed by self-proclaimed cow vigilantes in July.
More such incidents have been reported from other parts of the country. Last year, Mohammad Akhlaq, a Muslim man from UP was lynched for allegedly possessing beef in his home in Noida.