Caste Hindus oppose burial of Dalit woman’s body at common burial ground in Coimbatore district

The family of a 102-year-old Dalit woman who died on Saturday in Annur, was prevented from burying her body at a common ground, by members of the Gounder community; Revenue officials and police intervened and convinced the family to bury the body at a separate ground the Dalit community had been using

Updated - December 05, 2022 12:03 pm IST

Published - December 05, 2022 10:53 am IST - COIMBATORE

A controversy erupted in Coimbatore district late on Saturday, after a group of caste Hindus from Annur opposed the burial of the body of a Dalit woman, who had died due to age-related illnesses, at a common burial ground.

Relatives of the deceased woman placed her body on the road until the early hours on Sunday, demanding the intervention of the district administration.

Rangammal, 102, from Onnakarasampalayam Village near Annur in Coimbatore district, died due to an age-related illness on Saturday. Her family members made arrangements for the burial of her body at the common burial ground in the village.

Opposing this, a few members of the Gounder community argued that there was a separate burial ground for the Dalit community at Kurumbapalayam village, 1.5 km away, which, they said, the Dalit community has been using for more than 30 years: they demanded that the family bury the body on that ground.

The family of the deceased argued that there was not enough space at the Kurumbapalayam burial ground, and the pathway had become narrow. They staged a road blockade with the body, demanding the intervention of the district administration on Saturday night.

Revenue Department Officials and the police rushed to the spot and persuaded the family to bury the body of the woman at Kurumbapalayam burial ground, and made arrangements for this, on Sunday morning.

An official from the Revenue Department said, “Both the burial grounds are on poramboke land, and no community can be denied the right to bury [at the ground]. We have asked both of the communities to stop burying bodies at the current sites and use the government burial ground near the Annur Bus Stand, which is common for all.”

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