Odisha civic body to take corrective measures after 'Brahmins only' crematorium draws flak

Odisha civic body to take corrective measures after 'Brahmins only' crematorium draws flak

Kendrapara (Odisha), Nov 21 (PTI) A civic body in Odisha on Tuesday said it would take corrective measures to set right allegations of caste discrimination after drawing flak for operating a crematorium exclusively for Brahmins.

The 155-year-old Kendrapara Municipality, the oldest civic body in the eastern state, promised that it would look into the matter after the erection of an official signage designating a crematorium in Hazaribagicha locality in Kendrapara town for Brahmins drew criticism from Dalit rights activists and politicians.

Kendrapara Municipality chairperson Sarita Sahoo said, 'It had not come to my notice though the practice was in vogue for decades. Keeping in view the impropriety of the matter, the civic body council will discuss the issue in its next meeting and will resolve the matter.' 'The issue has come to our notice and we are looking into it. Steps will be taken to set right the alleged caste discrimination,' Prafulla Chandra Biswal, Executive Officer of Kendrapara Municipality, said.

The civic body faced allegations of caste discrimination after recently putting up a 'Brahmin crematorium' signage at the entrance of the burning ghat.

Local sources said that although the crematorium was being used for performing the last rites of Brahmins for a long time, the official signage was recently put up after the renovation of the facility with government grants.

People from other castes cremate their kin at another nearby crematorium, which was also renovated in the recent haul-up, they said.

The matter has drawn flak from Dalit rights activists and political leaders.

Nagendra Jena, district unit president of Odisha Dalit Samaj, 'I was shocked to know that the municipality has been maintaining a crematorium only for Brahmins for a long time. By doing so, the government body is breaking the law and promoting caste discrimination. This practice should be put to an end at the earliest.' CPI(M) district unit secretary Gayadhar Dhal said it is illegal for a civic body to run a crematorium only for Brahmins.

'People from other castes should also have the right to perform the last rites of their dear ones at the cremation ground,' he said.

Dhal said that the 'Brahmins only' crematorium violates fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution to people of all castes.

Allocating a separate cremation ground for Brahmins amounts to encouraging caste inequality, he added.

While the Kendrapara Municipality has been running a separate crematorium for Brahmins, no such discrimination is witnessed at Puri's sacred 'Swagra Dwar' burning ghat, which literally means 'gateway to heaven', where people of all castes are cremated, Bhaskar Mishra, a researcher on the 'Jagannath culture', said.

'It is believed that cremation at 'Swarga Dwar' ensures a place in heaven. The burning ghat runs on Shri Jagannath ideology wherein there is no place for discrimination among castes,' he said. PTI COR AAM ACD

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated feed.

PSU Watch