Casteism raises head, cremation stopped


MaaPeya Da LaaDLa
FEROZEPUR: Many in the country face the evil of caste-based discrimination in their lives. But in case of a Dalit woman in Bholuwala village, it continued even after she died. The dominant Jat Sikhs of the village did not let Dalit families cremate the body of Gurdial Kaur, 75, at the common cremation ground on Tuesday. She had died on Monday.

Jat Sikhs of the village allegedly threw out the pyre wood from the cremation ground following which the situation got tense. District administration sent the local executive magistrate and SHO of Ghal Khurd police station to the spot to diffuse the tension and persuade the Dalits to cremate the body at a vacant land in the village late on Tuesday afternoon.

According to sources, some Jat Sikh families had filed a case some time back to prevent Dalits from using the common cremation ground of the village, but the court had issued a stay order in favour of the Dalits pending a final decision. However, Jat Sikhs of the village claimed they hadn't received any such orders from the court.

They said Dalits had been given a separate piece of land, measuring about one kanal, for use as cremation ground for the last many years. Jagtar Singh, a resident of the village belonging to the dominating caste said Dalits had unnecessarily raised this issue at the behest of some local politicians to create tension.

Some people said similar tension had gripped the village when a Dalit man Gurdial Singh had died. That issue was resolved peacefully. Caste-based discrimination has deep roots in the village, which actually has two separate gurdwaras for the two communities. Dalit residents of the village alleged that being a minority and a financially depressed community, they were being discriminated against by the influential Jat Sikhs of the village.