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Bengaluru: ““If God doesn’t like us, we worship Ambedkar,” declared a Pattialina family from Karnataka.
Kolar district is under Malur taluka of Ullerahalli district of Karnataka state. It is at a distance of 60 km from Bangalore. Sobamma lives there with her family. In a recent interview with an organization dedicated to the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes, Chopamma said, “If God doesn’t like us, we worship Ambedkar.” His reason for saying so is central to Chopamma’s story of revolution.
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Chopamma is bound to pay a fine of Rs 60,000 by October 1. Do you know why? Because his son had touched the idol of the deity in the temple there. The gram panchayat has imposed a fine of Rs 60,000 to restore the lost sanctity.
In this case, Chopamma has described what happened in the interview. From what he said: “On the last 8th, the Boothayamma festival was held in the village. Scheduled castes are not allowed to enter the temple during this festival. In this case, my 15-year-old son Sami, who was standing outside the temple, was watching the procession with amusement. Then my son touched a pillar attached to the idol of Chitraana. Seeing this, the villagers immediately ordered our son and the whole family to appear in the village council. Next day we also went there. But disaster awaited us. We have to pay a penalty of Rs.60,000 by October 1; Otherwise, they said, we will be sent out of the town.
Only 75 to 80 families live in our village. Most of these families belong to the Okalika community. 10 families are listed families. Our house is at the end of the village. My son is studying in 10th standard in a school in Thekal village. My husband Ramesh is unwell. I am the only earning person in my house. Every morning at 5.30 am I board the train to Whitefield in Bengaluru. I do domestic work in some houses there. My monthly income is Rs.13,000. This is what my family lives on. How can I pay a penalty of Rs.60,000 in this?
If God doesn’t like our touch, if this town is trying to keep us out, then what’s the point of worshiping that God? Like everyone else, I have paid temple tax. But if I am not to bow down to God, I will always bow down to Ambedkar,” he said. This is Sopamma’s story.
Sandesh, an activist of the Ambedkar Seva Samiti, is now helping the family. Now the family has lodged a complaint with the police. It is noteworthy that this incident also took place during the celebration of Amrita Festival of Independence.