India claims to be a champion of secularism. But what to speak of converts, it does not allow even born Hindus to enter temples of the high-caste. A case in point is Ekambareshwar temple in Vedaranyam in district Nagapattinam of Tamil Nadu. Despite a fortnight of statewide protests by the Communist Party (Marxist) of India, the dalits could not enter the temple of Lord Shiva (Vedaraneeswar). The temple has special significance as this is the only Shiva temple, which has figurines of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati in their full wedding costumes. The four Vedas were excavated from this temple and that is the main reason for the name of the place. An attempt to ensure temple entry for dalits, led by the police officers was reportedly blocked by a violent mob at Chettipulam (The Hindu 15 October 2009). The mob blocked the road leading to the temple with logs of wood and concrete tunnel pipe. Average literacy rate of Vedaranyam is 71%, higher than the national average of 59.5%. But the high literacy ratio has not softened the hearts of high-caste Hindus towards dalits. The Ekambareshwar temple incident should be an eye-opener for those enamoured by Indias 'secular democracy. In the past, dalits have been burnt alive or tonsured for daring to set foot in a temple of the high-caste. -SAMAN MALIK, Rawalpindi, October 16.