MADURAI: School-going Dalit children were allegedly frisked by the policemen at the Thirunalkondacheri village in Nagapattinam, which witnessed furore over denial of funeral procession of a 100-year-old Dalit through a common pathway, an NGO has alleged.
According to a fact-finding report of a Madurai-based NGO called Evidence, the policemen frisked Dalit students to check whether they were carrying weapons.
The report released to the press demanded registration of cases against the authorities including revenue and police officials for failing to implement the order of the Madras High Court.
It alleged that though the district administration allocated lands for the extension of the narrow path leading to their burial ground, the caste Hindus allegedly encroached and used it as a farmland.
The village has 40 Dalit families and about 300 caste Hindu families. If any Dalit dies, the body would normally be cremated in a tiny burial ground on the banks of Mathimalai river. They would have to use only the three-feet wide path to reach the burial ground located 3 km away from their settlement, the report said.
The NGO alleged that when Kunjammal (85), wife of Chellamuthu, died in November last, the Dalits requested the district administration to allow them to take her body through the common pathway because farm lands were inundated, but the caste Hindus did not accept their request and as the Dalits also refused to cremate the body, the administration forcibly cremated the body.
When the elderly Chellamuthu died during the first week of January, his family made the request again. Since it was denied, his grandson Karthik moved the High Court to use the common pathway for the procession. As the HC gave the nod and ordered the administration to submit a report about it within a day, but the administration and the police failed to implement the order due to stiff opposition from the caste Hindus. So, the Dalits and the police had a heated exchange of words. The police not only resorted to lathi charge but also abused the Dalit women, the NGO alleged. Later, the police took away the dead body from Dalits and cremated it. The discrimination, it further said, is not just in using the common pathway but also in drawing water from a common temple.