Monday, April 18, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Dalit ostracized by his own community even in death

Dalit ostracized by his own community even in death
TNN | Apr 18, 2011, 06.18am IST

BHANDARA: The Dalits of Donad village in Lakhandur taluka continued
the boycott of a community member after his death, preventing his
family from even organizing his funeral for two days. The boycott was
lifted only after the local panchayat and some non-Dalit persons
intervened to settle the matter.

Bhaurao Jana Gedam (48), a resident of village Donad, had taken a loan
of Rs 600 from the Dalit community fund of the village six years ago.
However, he could not repay the loan in the stipulated time. So, the
Dalit community panchayat of the village had imposed boycott a on his

No other Dalit of the village was allowed to go to his house nor was
his family allowed to mix and interact with fellow community families.
After he was excommunicated by the Dalit community panchayat, Gedam
tried hard to get together the loan money, and could finally deposit
only the principal amount with the community panchayat office bearers.
However, his financial situation was so bad that he expressed his
inability to pay the interest that had accrued on the principal
amount. No satisfied with Gedam's efforts to settle the loan account,
the Dalit community panchayat continued the boycott of his family.

In the meantime, Bhaurao Gedam died on Thursday (April 14). However,
none of the village Dalits dared to go to his house due to the boycott
of the family. Everyone in the village knew about Gedam's death, but
instead of lifting the boycott the Dalit community panchayat issued a
threat to penalize anyone who attended Gedam's funeral.

The Dalit panchayat issued an order that any Dalit found attending
Gedam's funeral would be fined Rs 501. They panchayat also announced
an award of Rs 101 for anyone who reports the names of persons
violating this order and attending the funeral.

So, the body of Bhaurao Gedam remained in his house for two days.

Finally, the vice chairman of Lakhandur Panchayat Samiti intervened in
the matter and called together the Dalit community panchayat members
and villagers. After long deliberations, the matter was finally
resolved and the body was taken for the funeral. The last rites were
performed by the son of the deceased in the presence of villagers and
Dalit community members on April 15.

The community boycott was lifted, but Bhaurao Gedam had to die for it.
The matter was not reported to the local Lakhandur police station.

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