Gujarat: Dalit Man Denied Cremation In Anand, One Arrested
According to the Dalit family, the head of the village development council, Narendra Patel, refused to give the keys of the crematorium, and asked them to go to the open cremation ground 'designated' for the Dalits a few years ago
In another incident highlighting casteism, a man in Anand district of Gujarat has been booked under Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for allegedly denying the common crematorium to a Dalit man for last rites in Sisva village.
The Dalit family was headed to the crematorium to perform the last rites of their family member Bhikhabhai Rohit. In their complaint the nephew of the deceased, Kanti Rohit, has alleged that the village development council head, Narendra Patel, refused to give them keys of the crematorium and asked them to go to the open cremation ground 'designated' for Dalits a few years ago, Indian Express reported.
After the family was denied entry to the common crematorium, they went to the police. The police then reached the spot and instructed Patel to open the gates of the crematorium.
"The family of the deceased had called the police immediately after an argument had broken out between them and Patel. The issue was that there was a separate open crematorium in the village for the Dalit community, but the land was waterlogged during the monsoon. So, for the last six months or so, the Dalit community has been conducting its cremations at the common crematorium. Yesterday, Patel asked them to go back to the open ground because the monsoon is over," Deputy Superintendent of Police, RL Solanki, said.
According to Solanki, cremations from Dalit community did take place there few weeks before the incident was reported. The family asked Patel to open the crematorium since they could not hold the last rites in open grounds as it was dirty, but since he seemed rigid about his decision, police had to intervene, he added.
Superintendent of Police, Anand, Ajit Rajian said, "Police had reached the spot immediately and registered the offence… There was no law and order issue at all due to quick action taken."
The deceased had died due to natural causes according to the police. Patel after being detained went through a COVID test according to the protocol and has been formally arrested under the section 341 of the IPC for wrongful restraint and relevant sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.