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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Vikram Masson
(201) 674-2065
navyashastra@shastras.org
(www.shastras.org)

Navya Shastra condemns Orissa government for forbidding Dalits temple entry

Troy, Michigan—November 28, 2006—Navya Shastra, the international Hindu reform organization, strongly condemns the Orissa government and local religious authorities for forbidding Dalits entry into the Jagannath temple located in Keradagarh, Orissa.

In an act of dehumanizing discrimination, Dalits have been historically forced to offer worship to the deity through nine holes located outside the temple premises. State authorities are allegedly “negotiating” temple entry for Dalits with the leaders of the discriminatory dominant caste communities.

“Gandhi fought for temple entry seventy years ago. It is utterly sad that the principles he stood for are still at issue in the 21st century,” said Dr. Jaishree Gopal, Navya Shastra chairman.

Navya Shastra contends that Orissa’s approach to Dalit rights in Hindu institutions has historically been discriminatory, and demonstrates that the casteist mindset is deeply entrenched among the custodians of the state.

The organization stands in solidarity with the Dalit organizations currently fighting for temple entry.