Dalit family denied access to cremation ground in Himachal Pradesh

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Shimla, April 14  : Himachal Pradesh Governor Acharya Devvrat on Sunday took cognizance of a complaint that a lower caste family was prevented from performing the last rights at the common cremation ground in Dhara village of the Kullu district on Thursday.

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Devvrat asked the Kullu administration to take appropriate action.

The issue came to his notice when a delegation of the Sri Ravidas Dharma Sabha, led by its President Karam Chand Bhatia, apprised him about the incident.

According to media reports, the family had to cremate an elderly woman by a rivulet as some upper caste people allegedly prevented them from using the village crematorium. The village comes under the Patlikuhal police station in the Kullu district.

According to social experts, it’s not a stray incident in Himachal Pradesh. The centuries old caste-based attitude continues in the state and the most marginalised communities, including Dalits, are often barred from public places, like temples and water taps, in villages.

Lower caste students often face social discrimination in school activities, including partaking the midday meal. Even the cooks in 15,000-plus government schools are largely from the high castes.

It’s sad for the state that boasts 82.8% literacy rate, they say. As per the 2011 Census, Dalits comprise one fourth of the Himachal Pradesh’s over 6.8 million population.

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