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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Balasore: A complaint has been lodged at the Simulia Police Station in the district by a group of women alleging casteist remarks by the priest at the Rameswar Temple in Chalunigaon village during Mahashivaratri floral offerings on Thursday.

Sources said a group of more than 10 women belonging to a certain caste had visited the Rameswar temple for darshan of Lord Shiva during the auspicious Mahashivratri on Thursday morning.

As per the complaint lodged with the police, the priest at the temple did not entertain them during a ritual stating they were from a lower caste, in full public view.

One of the complainants said, "I went to the temple early in the morning to offer prayers on Shivratri and waited for my turn on queue. At the time of Pushpanjali, the priest did not give me flowers while all the other devotees got their share of flower petals for the offering."

"When I sought an answer for the bias, the priest said it was because I belong to a lower caste and hence not allowed to perform puja in the temple with people from upper castes," she alleged.

Following the alleged denial to perform the ritual, the group of women returned home afterwards lodged a complaint with the Simulia police.

The police have reportedly launched a probe into the incident. The priest was not available for comments.

It is pertinent to mention here that Mahashivratri is an annual auspicious celebration when devotees of Lord Shiva ensure visit Shiva shrines in their locality/ies and light Diyas all through the night seeking blessings from the Lord.

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