CHENNAI: After waiting in despair with the body of his 100-year-old grandfather who died on Sunday, a Dalit man from Nagapattinam is finally looking forward to burying the deceased on Tuesday following the intervention by the High Court of Madras.
The court on Monday directed the district administration and police to act swiftly on the plea from M Sankar from Vazhuvur in Nagapattinam, who alleged that the body his grandfather, A Chelladurai, a Dalit, could not be buried after caste Hindus from the locality prevented him from using the path leading to the burial ground.
According to the 27-yearold, the Dalits there have been using a portion of the land near Manimalaiaru for burying their dead in the absence of a proper burial ground. But there was no pathway to the spot, which led to protests in 2002. Following this, the local authorities had allotted a pathway from the village to the burial ground about three kilometres away.
However, caste Hindu community members did not permit the Dalits to use the land, allegedly threatening them with violence if they went against their wishes.
Even as the situation remained thus, Chelladurai passed away on Sunday evening at his native village in Vazhuvur. Desperate to give his grandfather a proper funeral, Sankar approached local authorities for help.
But no help was forthcoming till on Monday, which prompted him to move the court seeking police protection to conduct the funeral.
“It is very unfortunate that equality eludes a person till death starting from his birth,” observed Justice MM Sundresh when the petition came before him on Monday.
The deceased could not be given a decent burial due to malice which is still prevalent in the society, he noted.
“This court expects the respondents to act immediately to do the needful and r epor t the s ame on Tuesday, failing which appropriate orders will be passed,” the judge added and posted the matter for compliance on Tuesday.