BALANGIR: The district of labour migration, Balangir has been exposing its underbelly of blind belief, social menace and backward practices from time to time. The latest case has brought to fore the deep-rooted practices of casteism which led to ostracisation of a family by its own community. According to sources, 20-year-old Thabira Bhoi of Siletpara in Madhekela village of Gudvela block met an accident at Tusra, around 10 km from Gudvela, on April 12.
He was rushed to VIMSAR, Burla but succumbed on the way. Thabira's family brought the body after post-mortem to the village next day.But Thabira's community members as well as the villagers denied to participate in the cremation on the ground that his family had become untouchable as the post-mortem was conducted by the people belonging to lower caste.
While Thabira belonged to Gauda caste (OBC), the villagers said the people who conducted the post-mortem belonged to Scheduled Caste. Despite repeated appeals by Thabra's father Radhe Bhoi and his family, neither any member of their community nor villagers came forward to participate in the cremation. Moreover, the family of Thabira, who was a first year student of Tusra degree college, was ostracised and was not provided any material for the final rites.With no other way, Thabira's two elder brothers carried the body on a rope cot to the cremation ground, two km from the village and performed the last rites. Gunabanta Bhoi (25), the elder brother of the deceased, said the community members did not touch the body nor participate in the cremation process.
"I and my brother took the body to the cremation ground," he said.Thabira's community members were so stubborn on their belief in casteism that they neither participated in post-cremation rituals nor allowed the bereaved family to perform those. They demanded Thabira's family to offer a community feast to be reinducted into the community. Unaware of anybody to approach or anywhere to go, the ignorant Bhoi family polled all their resources to arrange the feast. Only after the family met the demand, the community and villagers participated in the last rituals.
Thabira's mother Basanti Bhoi said her family had to give the community feast to return to the caste. "This is the tradition of our village and we have no other option but to obey it," she said.When the matter was brought to the notice of Gudvela BDO Bigyan Kumbhar, he said he would look into the matter. "This is not a healthy thing. An inquiry will be conducted and the report submitted to the authority concerned," said Kumbhar.This is the tradition of our village and we have no other option but to obey it - Basanti Bhoi, mother of the deceasedThis is not a healthy thing. An inquiry will be conducted and the report submitted to the authority concerned - Bigyan Kumbhar, Gudvela BDO