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For the first time, Tirumala temple to have certificate course for Dalits to become priests

In a major symbolic step towards removing caste-related prejudices, the Tirumala temple has decided to give training to non-Brahmins in temple rituals, reported The Times of India.

 For the first time, Tirumala temple to have certificate course for Dalits to become priests

Tirupati temple. Image courtesy: AFP

This comes six years after the temple opened its Vedic school to Dalit students, the report pointed out.

The report said that this is the first time the administration is offering a certificate course in Vedic rituals to Dalits. Around 200 persons from the Dalit community and other socially backward groups will be trained by the temple.

Earlier, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam had started an initiative called 'Dalita Govindam', in which it took idols of Lord Balaji to Dalit villages, the Indian Express reported.

The CPI (M) had, however, called it a "modern form of untouchability", and said that the temple should allow Dalits as priests of the main temple and allow them to enter the area where the food items are prepared, as reported by The Hindu.

In 2006, the Jagannath temple in Odisha allowed the entry of Dalits into its premises. However, this was only after an appeal by the scion of an erstwhile ruling family a meeting with a divisional commissioner and a deputy inspector general with upper-caste leaders, as reported by Hindustan Times.

At the Lord Ayappa temple at Sabarimala, women between 10 years to 50 years of age are not allowed entry. A group of women lawyers has filed a petition with the Supreme Court against the ban, which is pending, according to a report by The Hindu.

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Updated Date: Sep 23, 2015 16:12:58 IST