Dalits 'Airdrop' Body Off Vellore Bridge After Being Denied Road Access to Cremation Ground

CNN-News18

Chennai: In a shocking case of caste discrimination in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore, villagers belonging to the upper caste allegedly denied permission for the funeral procession of a Dalit man to be taken through their agricultural fields, forcing members of his community to lower his body from a 20-feet-high bridge.

Kuppan, 46, died in a road accident on August 16 and was to be cremated the next day after the post mortem. However, his relatives alleged that they were not allowed to take the usual route to the cremation ground as the area belonged to members of the upper caste. As they objected, Kuppan’s body was lowered from atop the bridge in a cradle and then picked up by members of his community standing below, a video of the incident showed.

Villagers claim the bridge was constructed 10 years ago and since then, the upper castes have denied permission to Dalits to use the path. They added that Kuppan’s was not the first case they had witnessed where the body was lowered from the bridge.

A probe was ordered into the incident after the video went viral. Revenue officials inspected the site and the district administration has decided to allot 50 per cent land for the Dalit community for cremation so that such incidents are not repeated in future.