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Monday, Dec 09, 2019

‘TN govt encouraging caste inequality’, Madras HC after row over Dalit funeral

The Madras High Court said that providing a separate crematorium for Dalits meant encouraging caste inequality.

india Updated: Aug 26, 2019 20:01 IST
M Manikandan
M Manikandan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
The Madras High Court initiated a suo moto motion after a video of a Dalit man’s body being lowered from a bridge in a village in Vellore  to reach a crematorium sparked outrage.
The Madras High Court initiated a suo moto motion after a video of a Dalit man’s body being lowered from a bridge in a village in Vellore to reach a crematorium sparked outrage.(HT FILE PHOTO)
         

The Madras High Court on Monday severely criticized the Tamil Nadu government for allocating a separate cremation ground for Dalits in a village where recently they had to lower a body from a bridge to reach the crematorium as upper caste-Hindus denied permission for it to be carried through their fields.

After the incident of August 17 in Vellore’s Narayanapuram village, about 220 km west of Chennai, came into the light on August 21, the Madras High Court’s division bench comprising of Justice S Manikumar and Justice Subramoniam Prasad had initiated a suo moto motion over the incident a day later.

The court had asked the Vellore district administration to submit a report about this incident. The administration submitted that they have allotted separate land for Dalits in Narayanapuram. Dissatisfied by the response, the court asked the reason for assigning a separate crematorium.

The high court judges said that providing a separate crematorium for Dalits meant encouraging caste inequality.

“While observing the matter, it is evident that the Government itself is encouraging caste inequality. The Government which has passed orders to remove the caste names on streets, have not removed it from schools,” the judges remarked.

The court urged Vellore district collector and Vaniyambadi Tehsildar to furnish the details about the land which was allocated to the Dalits. It also asked them to submit what future course of action they proposed to take over this incident. The matter will be again heard on August 28.