Thanjavur: Lack of pathway forces Dalits to go through paddy fields to reach cremation ground

Thanjavur: Lack of pathway forces Dalits to go through paddy fields to reach cremation ground

On Friday, after a 60-year-old woman died, her relatives had to carry her body through paddy fields that were slushy due to the recent rains.

Published: 07th December 2020 10:04 PM

Members of Dalit community carrying the body of a deceased kin for cremation (Photo | EPS)
Express News Service

THANJAVUR: The lack of a pathway has forced Dalit residents of two villages in Thanjavur district to take their deceased loved ones through paddy fields and coconut groves to reach the cremation ground.

Around 200 Dalit families live in the Adi Dravidar colony in Nelliyadikkadu village of Manakkadu village panchayat and the adjacent Adi Dravidar colony of Pinnavasal village. Though they come under two different village panchayats, the habitations are separated only by the Peravurani-Rettaivayal road.

With no pathway to the cremation ground located on the banks of the Kadayan Kundu pond, Dalit residents from both villages have no choice but to take carry their deceased kin through paddy fields and coconut and plantain groves.

On Friday, after a 60-year-old woman died, her relatives had to carry her body through paddy fields that were slushy due to the recent rains. V Dharmalingam, a resident of the area, said there would be no problem during an ‘off-season’. “But during the cultivation season and the monsoon it is very difficult to travel the 1km distance,” he said.

The residents have petitioned the Block Development offices in Sethubavachathiram and Peravurani. As the laying of a path involves the acquisition of land, the Adi Dravidar Welfare Department was approached. Though a survey was taken two years ago, there has been no progress since. “We do not have a cremation shed either,” Dharmalingam added. When contacted, the officials of the Block Development office in Sethubavachathiram said they would look into the issue.

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