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Friday, 21 September, 2001, 12:44 GMT 13:44 UK
Dalits defy temple ban
Over 1,000 lower caste Hindus, known as Dalits, have broken an age-old taboo banning their entry into Indian temples.

The Dalit members went into a temple in the western Indian state of Rajasthan.

The lower caste villagers say this was the first time they dared to enter the temple freely and it comes against a backdrop of an awareness campaign organised by civil liberty organisations.

One of the group told the BBC that upper caste Hindus have long considered the Dalits untouchable and have barred them from entering temples - an allegation denied by the temple's priest.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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