Security was beefed up on November 25 at an Orissa temple after a court banned the entry of devotees following a public suit seeking protection for Dalits who plan to enter the shrine defying an age-old ban.
Dalits are barred from getting into the 18th century Jagannath temple at Keradagarh village in the coastal district of Kendrapada by Hindu upper castes.
An advocate, Akhya Kumar Mallik, had filed a public interest petition in the Orissa High Court in the first week of November seeking protection for Dalits when they enter the temple. The court served show cause notices to the affected parties, including the district administration.
In view of the tension in the village, deputy district chief Raghunath Padhy filed a petition in the high court seeking that status quo be maintained in the temple.
In response, the division bench of the high court, comprising Justice I.M. Quddusi and Justice N. Prusty, banned the entry of people into the temple, barring the priests and the staff.
“Nobody will be allowed inside the temple except for the priests and other staff until the disposal of the petition,” the judges said. However, the judges said the court was open to hear any party affected by its interim order.