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'He Opened Our Eyes': Dalits Lay Claim to Hanuman Temple in UP's Rampur After Yogi's Comments

There are many in Rampur, who claimed to have been 'awakened' by CM Adityanath. Scores of Dalit community members arrived at the Hanuman temple, for the first time, on Sunday.


Updated:December 9, 2018, 7:37 PM IST
'He Opened Our Eyes': Dalits Lay Claim to Hanuman Temple in UP's Rampur After Yogi's Comments
Members of Dalit community at a Hanuman temple in Uttar Pradesh's Rampur

New Delhi: Till recently, Rampur resident Kailash was a devout Vishwakarma follower. However, his focus seems to be shifting now. Not that he's disenchanted with his God but he now feels a strong allegiance to Lord Hanuman. Thanks to his chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who introduced him to the 'new, divine energy'.

"I was told that Hanuman ji was a Dalit. No one told me about this ever. It was our chief minister who informed us. We have traditionally been following Lord Vishwakarma. However, our CM has opened our eyes now. We, therefore, want to take the responsibility of maintaining our Lord Hanuman's temple," said Kailash after offering prayers at a temple in Rampur's Punjabi colony under Swar police station.

Kailash is not alone. There are many in the town, who claimed to have been "awakened" by CM Adityanath. A group of Valmiki community members arrived at the Hanuman temple, for the first time, on Sunday. From chanting slogans to performing aarti, they followed every ritual to please 'their' Lord.

Tension erupted when the group refused to move from the area before being given the responsibility of maintaining the temple, forcing officials of the district administration to rush to the spot. The community members have demanded to be a part of the temple managing committee.

Sub-Divisional Magistrate and Station Officer arrived to pacify the group. The head of the committee has been informed and things will proceed according to the law, a police officer said.

Three days ago, members of Dalit outfit Valmiki Kranti Dal entered a Hanuman temple in Muzaffarnagar and allegedly manhandled the priest, forcing him out of the prayer room. Police had to deploy officials at the temple as a preventive measure.

Something similar happened in the state capital when at least 20 Dalit members, carrying placards saying 'Daliton ke devta Bajrang Bali ka mandir humara hai' (The temple of Dalit god Hanuman is ours) stormed into a Hanuman temple in Hazratganj area.

"We urge Yogiji to allow Dalit pujaris in all Hanuman temples across the state," a member said.

On November 28, UP chief minister and BJP's star campaigner Yogi Adityanath had said that Hanuman was a Dalit and always worked to connect all Indian communities. Since then, members of the community have been visiting Hanuman temples.

Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad had also urged members of Dalit community to "take over" all Hanuman temples in the country.

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| Edited by: Sumedha Kirti
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