The Karnataka Police booked eight persons on Wednesday after a Dalit boy touched an idol after which panchayat members fined his family Rs 60,000 in Kolar district’s Ullerahalli village earlier this month, reported The New Indian Express.

The police booked former panchayat member Narayana Swamy, village head’s husband Venkateshappa, the panchayat vice president and a few others under the provisions of Protection of Civil Rights Act, reported The Indian Express.

The incident happened on September 8 when the villagers were holding a fair dedicated to village deity Bhootayamma. Dalits are not allowed to enter the deity’s temple, according to The Indian Express.

When a religious procession was taken out, the 15-year-old Dalit boy touched a pole attached to the idol. Venkateshappa noticed this and asked the boy to bring his family to the village elders.

The panchayat demanded that the Dalit boy’s mother, Shobha, to pay for a ritual to “purify” the idol failing which she will be asked to leave the village, reported The New Indian Express. The panchayat also threatened her to not disclose this to anyone.

The family then approached Ambedkar Seva Samithi, a Dalit welfare organisation, that took the family to the police station and lodged a complaint, reported the Hindustan Times.

In her complaint, Shobha said that Swamy, Venkateshappa and another accused man Ramesh, who is a temple committee member, physically assaulted her son and even directed the family to clean the temple and paint it.

“If God doesn’t like our touch or if people want to keep us away, what is the point of us offering prayers?” Shobha told The Indian Express. “Like any other person, I also have spent money, offered donations for God. Hereafter, I will not do any such thing and will only offer prayers to Dr BR Ambedkar.”

Kolar Deputy Commissioner Venkat Raja directed the social welfare department to immediately provide a job for Shobha who commutes to Bengaluru for work daily, reported The New Indian Express. The district administration has also given them a plot of land to construct a house and have paid them some money.