Ground Report | New Delhi: Dalit man’s body buried; A Dalit family was reportedly not allowed to march on the last rites of a family member in Malewari village in Maharashtra’s Solapur district. Apart from the upper castes, the local police reportedly prevented the family from marching, and a dozen Hindu caste threats prevented them from going to the village crematorium.
Dalit man’s body buried outside panchayat
According to the report of The Wire, when upper-caste Hindus joined hands to stop the last rites of a Dalit man in the village, his family cremated the body just outside the village panchayat office as a sign of protest.
On August 20, 74-year-old disabled Dhananjay Sathe, belonging to the Scheduled Caste Matang community, passed away. His brother Dashrath Sathe, the village sarpanch, and other family members decided to take the people belonging to the OBC Mali community to the village cremation ground next to the farm.
We were stopped from passing through the fields of the village. Even the police cars were parked in front of our cars to stop us. We kept asking the police for permission but they did not pay any attention. Dashrath Sathe said. He alleged that he was prevented from taking his brother’s body to the graveyard through the field of a fellow villager.
Stopped from passing through village
The argument between the family and the police lasted almost the entire day. In a viral video, the deceased’s family can be seen clasping their hands and begging the police to allow the funeral procession to pass. In the video, police also remove the keys to the car that was carrying the body.
In the village with more than 1100 houses, only two houses belong to the Dalit community. More than 90% of the households belong to the Mali community and some others belong to the OBC communities. It is uncertain to resist casteist decrees in such a heterogeneous system, and on several occasions, the sixties have suffered the brunt of retaliation.
Dhananjay’s niece Suman Sathe says this is the third incident of caste-based atrocities between April and August. “It all started after my uncle Dashrath Sathe was elected as the village sarpanch. They (Hindu caste) expected him to follow his orders and remain silent sarpanch. My uncle didn’t. And that was the turning point of the village.” They allege that since then, the family has been verbally intimidated, hurled casteist abused, beaten up, and barred from accessing the farm belonging to the OBC community.
FIR against seven members of Dalit family
A case has been registered against 13 villagers under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Oppression) Act, 1989, and for rioting. However, a counter-case has also been registered against seven members of the Dalit family for allegedly making a fuss and performing the last rites without following the Covid norms.