Dalits hold Protest Demanding Cremation Ground for Final Rites
Udupi: Dalit community members staged a protest on January 28 against the gram panchyat for not allowing the cremation of a Dalit leader who had expired in Uchila. The protesters protested by placing the Dalit leader’s body in front of the Uchila Gram Panchayat.
Senior Dalit leader Shanker, a resident of Uchila had expried on January 27. The Dalit community had gone to cremate the body of Shanker in the public crematorium but were not allowed. Angered Dalit leaders palced the body infornt of the Uchila gram pancayat and expressed their ire against the administration.
The Dalit leaders allege that in the Uchil gram panchayat limits, 1.56 acres of land had been granted for the construction of a crematorium during the British rule. But some members of a particular community had objected to it. This matter was then taken to court, which directed the district administration to resolve the matter. The district administration too issued an order giving its nod for the crematorium. But some casteist forces had used the issue for political gains and with an intention to spoil harmony among the communities. The crematorium had to be used for cremating the bodies of all communities, including Dalits living in colonies in Uchila and Yermal.
Various leaders, who always speak about unity among Hindus, should intervene in this matter and resolve it. The present situation was tantamount to practising untouchability as far as cremating bodies was concerned. The district administration should take action against those opposing the construction of the crematorium, they said.
Today we the Dalit Community had gone to cremate the body of Shanker but the locals objected. We then brought his body to the Uchila Gram Panchayat. If the administration will not allow to cremate the body of our community leader, we will cremate his body in front of the gram panchayat, they warned.
After receiving the protest news Kaup Tahasildar Isaac visited the spot and tried to pacify the protesters but they rejected the Tahasildar’s request and demanded the DC to visit the spot.
Isaak told the protesters that since the matter was in the court, the cremation could not be done there. The cremation of the deceased could be done in nearby Belapu or Kaup. But they remained unmoved.
Finally, Additional Deputy Commissioner Sadashiva Prabhu rushed to the spot and assured to look into the matter concerning the disputed land. After this assurance, the cremation of the deceased was done near his house at Mullagudde.