Dalits face ordeal of crossing canal on foot to bury their dead
Namakkal: With no burial ground in their village, around 150 dalit villagers of Veerappampalayam near Kumarapalayam in the district have to cross a canal in hip-deep water and tread through a battered road to bury their dead ones in an adjacent village close to the Pallipalayam municipality.
“We have to walk in the hip-deep water for nearly one kilometer in the canal to reach the burial ground,” R Vijayakumar, one of the villagers, told TOI. The villagers demanded a bridge across the canal to reach the burial ground.
Dalits had settled in the village for more than four generations.
Initially, they had buried the dead bodies in one corner of the village. But, the government officials strictly warned them not to bury the dead bodies in the open ground. “After the warning, we started to bury the bodies in the nearby burial ground,” Vijayakumar added.
More than 15 villagers died of various health ailments in the last six months. On Wednesday, villagers carried the body of Ponnuthayee, 63, who died of age-related ailments on Tuesday, in a hearse and crossed the canal to bury him in the nearby village.
People who have land near the canal do not allow dalits to carry the mortal remains of the dead through their land.
Another villager K Rajukumar said they met electricity minister P Thangamani two weeks ago and submitted a petition demanding a proper approach road to reach the burial ground.
“If they don’t have land to lay the road, then the government has to set up a burial ground in our village,” they demanded.
Courtesy : TNN