Posted On October 15, 2022
Now, the government has begun acquisition of land to develop separate Dalit burial grounds in all gram panchayats in the state
Kalaburagi, Dalits in various parts of Karnataka continue to face discrimination over community graveyards, forcing them to demand a separate, government-allotted burial ground.
Now, the government has begun acquisition of land to develop separate Dalit burial grounds in all gram panchayats in the state.
“We have started a drive to acquire land for graveyards for the Dalit community in all 6,020 gram panchayats and town municipalities in the state. We have already provided graveyards in over 1,000 villages to avoid discrimination against Dalits by upper castes. I will ensure that Dalits get graveyards in all villages,” said Social Welfare Minister Kota Shrinivas Poojari.
The previous government had, in 2014, sanctioned Rs 10 crore for acquisition of private land for this purpose.
Last week, people from privileged castes in Murga (K) village in Kamalanagar taluk of Bidar district disrupted the funeral of a 55- year-old Dalit man. A group of people barged into the public graveyard and asked the Dalits to shift the corpse, claiming that the graveyard was for “upper castes”.
A similar incident occurred in the village two months ago at the funeral of a BSF jawan.
While some Dalit communities cremate the dead, some bury the corpse. In the absence of a graveyard, members of the community in many villages have resorted to cremation.
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In most villages, public graveyards allotted by the government are being monopolised by privileged castes. Dalits are left with no choice but to cremate corpses on the banks of rivers or streams in far-off places.
Speaking to DH, Bidar Social Welfare Department Deputy Director Girish Ranjolkar said that 84 villages in the district have no graveyards for the Dalit community, and measures would be taken to allot land on priority basis.
Deputy directors of social departments in Kalaburagi, Raichur, Yadgir and other districts claimed that they did not maintain the records of villages having no graveyard for Dalits.
“We had submitted a list of 12 selected villages in Kalaburagi district where there is an urgent need of a graveyard for Dalits. But officials failed to send the proposal to the government,” said Karnataka State Dalist Sangharsh Samiti convener Arjun Bhadre.
‘Bury caste system’
“The government should bury the caste system, or else provide a burial ground for Dalits,” Bhadre added.
Untouchability has been abolished as per the Constitution, and experts point out that there is no mention of providing a separate burial ground for Dalits in the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
“The government should take measures to provide separate graveyard land for Dalits to avoid conflict with upper castes. At the same time, it should strive for total eradication of untouchability and gradually create an atmosphere where one graveyard can be used by all communities,” Justice H N Nagamohan Das said.
Courtesy : Deccan Herald
Note: This news piece was originally p
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