BAGHPAT: Castesim remains the biggest threat the Hindu society faces in many parts of India, especially rural India – a fact that was highlighted once again when a dalit family was not allowed to perform the last rites of a 17-year-old girl who died after prolonged illness.
As reported by Amar Ujala, there are three cremation grounds in Sinauli village in the Baghpat district of Western Uttar Pradesh, with two of them controlled by local strongmen (assumed to be belonging to non-dalit castes) and one left for dalits.
When Pradeep, a local villager, visited one of those two cremation grounds to perform last rites of his daughter Ashu, he was asked to go to the cremation ground where dalits are “allowed”.
Apart from being shocking and disgusting, this action can easily be deemed criminal under the SC-ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, however the local administration is reported to have taken no action against the culprits.
The family could finally perform the last rites in another cremation ground, while the administration is reported to be looking into the issue of intimidation and land grabbing.
This incident also shows why the focus of Hindu groups should be to provide equal rights and respect to dalits and lower castes, rather than indulging in ham-handed activities like “gharwapasi”.
Earlier, many dalit families in the Western UP had threatened to embrace Islam if they were not provided equal rights such as access to temples and cremation grounds. It is a shame that such discrimination takes place even in present times.
There have been reforms initiated by some governments, such as Narendra Modi, when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, initiating a program that gave dalits rights that were exclusively reserved only for Brahmins by tradition. Similar steps were taken by the Bihar government too.
Hindu groups like VHP, Hindu Mahasabha, Dharm Raksha Manch, and others need to realize that they should be working on similar projects rather than creating headlines that embarrass their co-religionists.
But before that, the UP government led by Samajwadi Party, which claims to believe in “social justice”, should punish the goons who denied basic human dignity and rights to this dalit family of Sinauli village.