Her final journey was on a tattered cot as she belonged to a ‘Low caste’

October 30, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Kalahandi, October 27, 2016: Sabitri died on Tuesday night. And the humiliation she suffered during her lifetime paled in comparison to what her lifeless body was subjected to hours after death.

Far from decent last rites, the old woman’s body was tied to a cot and dragged by three of her relatives to the cremation ground. No neighbour, no friend came forward to help them in Tentulipada village of Mahima Panchayat in Odisha.

The reason: Sabitri belonged to a ‘low caste’ and had been ‘exiled’ along with her husband by the villagers.

Sabitri was the second wife of Baidyanath Zued, who had married her while working as a labourer in Bhawanipatna district of the state after the death of his first wife. Sabitri’s hopes of a happy married life were dashed when the locals ‘exiled’ the couple as Sabitri was from a ‘low caste’.

Her husband died six months ago and Sabitri had been living in pitiable conditions since then.

When Sabitri breathed her last on Tuesday night, Raghunath informed the villagers and asked them for help in completing the last rites. But no one came forward. They again asked him to pay a fine so Sabitri could be ‘taken back’ for her cremation. But Raghunath was unable to meet their demands.

He ultimately had to tie the body to a tattered cot and, with the help of his wife and son-in-law, drag it to the cremation ground. Villagers followed them, some with mobile phones, recording Sabitri’s ‘last journey’. Others offered suggestions: “Tie the body to a pole. It will be easier to carry it to the cremation ground”. But, no one lifted a hand to actually help the trio.

Some locals informed District Collector Brinda D about this incident, who in turn informed Kokasara BDO Raghunath Mundari.

Mundari visited the area later. “Those who cannot afford to undertake cremation of relatives themselves can avail of the Harishchandra Jojana in which the family is given `2,000 financial aid for the last rites. This family will also be given this amount. But, it is high time that people empathise with others and show some humanity,” said Raghunath Mundari.

The incident comes weeks after a tribal man in the state’s Bhawanipatna district was forced to carry his wife’s body on his shoulder for 10km after his repeated requests for an ambulance fell on deaf ears.

– news 18

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