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Denied Access To Crematorium, Dalit Woman's Last Rites Held In Front Of House

Locally dominant castes did not permit them to perform last rites in the cremation ground, her family said

11/08/2016 2:33 PM IST | Updated 11/08/2016 2:39 PM IST
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A Dalit family was not allowed to perform the last rites of a woman in the local cremation ground, following which they were forced to hold them in front of their own house in Madhya Pradesh.

Sangeeta, 28, was staying with her husband, Bablu Mahaur, in Gujarat when she passed away on the intervening night of 8 and 9 August. Bablu brought the body to his ancestral town, Parashar Ki Garhi, in Morena district, on Tuesday. However, the locally dominant castes did not allow him to perform last rites in the cremation ground.

Bablu and his father's requests fell on deaf years.

"We requested everybody but no one relented. Finally, we decided to perform last rites in front of our own house", Bablu's father Puran Mahaur told the media.

"Sometimes in such situation, last rites are performed in a field. We don't own land and hence we requested others for it too, but we were turned away."

"Sometimes in such situation, last rites are performed in a field. We don't own land and hence we requested others for it too, but we were turned away," he added.

The funeral pyre was set up in front of the house while the rest of the villagers watched.

"The writ of the dominant upper castes runs large in this area. They forcibly occupy shamshan ghat and other open land, where crop is sown too, just to keep others away. There have been complaints in this regard to officials but so far no action has been taken", said a panchayat member on conditions of anonymity.

Sub Divisional Officer of Police (SDOP) KS Bhadauria told HuffPost India that the woman had died in Gujarat and confirmed that the husband performed the last rites in front of his ancestral house.

District collector Vinod Sharma has announced a relief of Rs10,000 to the family.

However, he said that some villagers had come forward to family's help too, offering that cremation be performed in a field. "Today, the district administration has taken action and has removed the encroachment at the land meant for cremation," Bhadauria, a deputy superintendent of police (DSP) rank officer, said.

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