Kerala Devaswom Minister Radhakrishnan says he faced caste discrimination at temple

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K Radhakrishnan | Photo: Mathrubhumi

Kottayam: Kerala Devaswom Minister K Radhakrishnan has said that he faced caste discrimination at a temple when he went there to attend an inaugural function.

Radhakrishnan, who hails from the Scheduled Caste community, said two priests of the temple refused to hand over to him the flame they had brought to light the main lamp placed at the venue for marking the inauguration.

Instead, they themselves lit the main lamp, and after that, they placed the flame on the ground, thinking that he would take it and light the main lamp, the minister alleged.

Radhakrishnan, a member of the central committee of the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist), said this while addressing a programme organised by the Bharatiya Velan Service Society (BVS) here on Sunday.

"I went to attend a function at a temple. On the occasion of the inaugural function, the main priest placed a lamp there. He came with a flame and I thought that he was going to give it to me for lighting the lamp.

But he did not hand it over to me. He himself lit the lamp. I thought that it was part of a custom and should not be disturbed," he said.

The minister further said, "After that, he handed over the flame to the co-priest who also lit the lamp. I thought it (the small lamp) would be given to me after that. But it was not done. Instead, he put the flame on the ground. Their thinking was that I would take it off the ground and light the (main) lamp."

"Should I light the lamp (which was not personally handed over to me by the priest)? Should I take it? I said get lost. You don't consider the money given by me as untouchable, but you consider me as untouchable," he added.

He, however, did not share more details of this incident or where this experience was encountered.

Radhakrishnan, Minister for Welfare of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes and Devaswoms represents Chelakkara constituency of Thrissur district.

He served as Minister for the Welfare of Backward and Scheduled Communities and Youth affairs from (1996 – 2001), opposition Chief Whip (2001 to 2006) for the Kerala Legislative Assembly and Speaker of Kerala Legislative Assembly (2006-2011). PTI

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