KUMTA : Residents of Baad village experience a gamut of emotions whenever someone dies — grief, helplessness and loads of anger. In the absence of a cremation ground, they have to go looking for a place on the beach to perform the last rites of their loved ones. And there too, they face opposition from owners of resorts located in the vicinity.
After the village cremation ground was allotted for a resort, people are now looking at the zilla panchayat to resolve the issue. Villagers say the land was allotted to a resort builder who, in turn, gave them a one acre plot as an alternate site. But the new space is surrounded by houses, and residents have been opposing cremation of bodies there.
“It is a grave issue, which I will discuss with the deputy commissioner. I will send an officer to check the situation. If the cremation land was handed over to the resort illegally, we will take action to take it over and investigate the role of the staffers involved,” M Roshan, Chief Executive Officer, ZP, Uttara Kannada, said.
Residents of the small village in Kumta taluk, located at the estuary of Aghanashini river and Arabian Sea, narrate their struggles to find a spot to cremate a dead body. About 15 days ago, when an elderly woman died, the resort owners objected to her cremation by the seaside. The family members then had to take the body to the Hubbanagari area beach behind the college. They faced objection there as well, but managed to perform the rituals finally.
Vighneshwar Naik, a villager, said they have been cremating dead bodies at the cremation ground or on the beach for centuries. “Land by the sea has been commercialised and now resorts have come up. The Gram Panchayat illegally sold 32 guntas, which housed the cremation ground, to a resort owner a few years ago. Now, we are not able to perform the last rites at the new place or on the beach.”
Another villager, Vinayak Kolkar, said when his grandmother died on February 10 this year, her cremation was opposed by all resort owners. “We had to take the body about a mile away from the earlier ground. Despite resistance from owners of resorts located near the college, we cremated her there,” he said, adding, “If there is no place for cremation in the village, where do we go? Should we take it to the Gram Panchayat which created the problem in the first place?”