By Arré Bench Jul. 28, 2020
In yet another shameful reminder that caste is the bane of Indian society, “upper caste” Thakur villagers in Uttar Pradesh refused to allow the cremation of a young “lower caste” Nat woman on “their” grounds. The last rites were stopped just as the family was about to light the pyre.
It is almost as if India has to fill a daily quota of caste-related violence and outrage. In yet another shameful reminder that caste is the bane of Indian society, “upper caste” villagers in Uttar Pradesh refused to allow the cremation of a young woman on “their” grounds.
On July 19, in Uttar Pradesh’s Kakarpura village in Etawah district, the young woman, 26, who belongs to the Nat community, died of a uterus infection. Nats are a nomadic community and are considered “lower caste”. Her body was taken to the gram sabha cremation ground, used by everyone in the village.
In an interview with The Times of India, the woman’s husband Rahul stated that a group of Thakur men, who are considered “upper caste”, appeared just as his four-year-old son was about to light the pyre. The men demanded that the body be taken to the cremation ground meant for the lower caste and Dalit communities. This continued for six hours.
A video of the incident started doing the rounds. In it, the viewer can see the young woman’s body just lying on the ground as her family and other men mill about.
— Osama Sultan (@OsamaSultan0124) July 26, 2020
Eventually, the body was taken off the pyre and brought to the Nagla Das cremation ground, four km away from the village. According to The Times of India report, Rahul said that the cremation ground meant for the Dalit community in their village, was taken over by Brahmins. The Thakur men remained adamant and even justified their actions by saying that the “rules” must be followed by everyone. Another villager quoted in the report said, “They [Nats] were given this land decades ago to live beside Thakurs. Is that not enough?”
The UP police is reported to have been involved now, even though no arrests have been made nor action taken against the men who prevented the cremation. According to the circle officer BS Veer Kumar, the woman’s family did not file any complaint against the upper caste men, and the matter was resolved “peacefully”.
There ought to be no “peaceful” resolution to such a contemptible matter though.
Mayawati, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo and former CM of Uttar Pradesh, labelled it a disgrace and highly condemnable. She also demanded a high-level inquiry into it, avoiding a repeat of such an incident.
1. यू.पी. में आगरा के पास एक दलित महिला का शव वहाँ जातिवादी मानसिकता रखने वाले उच्च वर्गों के लोगों ने इसलिए चिता से हटा दिया, क्योंकि वह शमशान-घाट उच्च वर्गों का था, जो यह अति-शर्मनाक व अति-निन्दनीय भी है। 1/3
— Mayawati (@Mayawati) July 28, 2020
Several handles associated with the Congress took to the story to blame the Adityanath government.
In this day & age, incidents like this are a blot on humanity! What can be more tragic than not being able to give dignity to the dead and a family in mourning! Pathetic! https://t.co/T9fFKSE0Df
— Asha Kumari (@AshaKumariINC) July 28, 2020
The body of a 26-year-old woman from the Nat community in Kakarpura village
about 20km from Agra, was taken off the funeral pyre after the Thakur community objected and forced the family to cremate her 4km away at grounds “meant for the Dalit community”.https://t.co/SyUufqprbM
— Niraj Bhatia (@bhatia_niraj23) July 28, 2020
The incident has rightly been panned as “shameful”.
Body of Nat woman taken off funeral pyre after upper castes object | Agra News – Times of India https://t.co/tlruq08boT
— Zeba Warsi (@Zebaism) July 28, 2020
The true face of “Hindu Rashtra”.
Another face of so called #HinduRashtra.
Body of Nat woman taken off funeral pyre after upper castes object | Agra News – Times of India https://t.co/LIAB8XbYNW
— Sultaan Khan | سُلْطان (@IamSultaan) July 28, 2020
These are headlines that belong in the past. Caste has no place in the India of 2020.