An FIR has been filed against the priest and his two sons, who allegedly denied the Dalit girls entry and hurled casteist abuses at them.
New Delhi: Dalit girls in Gujarat’s Mehlol village, near Godhra, were denied entry into a Hindu temple by the priest and his sons. A complaint was filed by the father of one of the girls under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, following which an FIR was lodged against the priest, Babu Bhatt, and two of his sons.
Mehlol, in the Panchmahals district, is the native village of Prabhatsinh Chauhan, BJP Lok Sabha MP from Panchmahals.
According to a report in Outlook magazine, the priest at Mahadev temple refused to let the girls enter or offer prayers for ‘gauri vrat‘. When one of them managed to enter, he allegedly hurled casteist abuses at her and forced her to leave.
According to Gopal Mochi, the father of one of the girls and the one who filed the police complaint, said the priest has been barring members from entering the temple ever since the vrat began, according to the Times of India. “The priest had been stopping the girls since two days but they did not inform us. But on Saturday as the situation aggravated, they told us,” the newspaper quoted Mochi as saying. “I went to meet the priest to settle the issue but his son Nilesh threatened me saying they don’t care even if we go to the police.”
No arrests have been made so far. The deputy superintendent of police (SC/ST cell) said investigations have begun and “an FIR has been registered against the priest and two others who allegedly abused the girls.”
Bhatt has denied the allegations. “In his statement to police, Bhatt said that none of the girls were pushed not were they denied entry in the temple,” V.R. Bajpayee, deputy superintendent of police, Halol division, told Times of India. “The priest said that he was busy in prayer ceremonies with other girls and therefore he had denied them from entering.”