Khandwa, MP, Oct 2 (UNI) A tribal 'Gond' family refused to accept a deceased family member's body because it was touched by Scheduled Caste people during post-mortem at Kalapatha village in this district, police said today.
Rameshwar (70), a priest at a Devi temple in Patajan village, fell from his bicycle from bridge over Garanedi river while on his way to home on September 29. He fell uncoscious and was rushed to hospital. He died without regaining consciousness.
The deceased was identified on the basis of name written on his hand.
Police said family members refused to take the body, as it was touched by sanitary workers during post-mortem.
When police pressurised the family, Rameshwar's nephew Ganeshi Hazarilal arrived with two-three people but refused to touch the body.
Ganeshi said a person was boycotted from society for a month if he was touched by an untouchable. He could return only after certain rituals and spending money. A dead body also became impure if it was touched by an untouchable.
Under such circumstances, society would boycott them for at least two months if they touched the body. Besides, an expenditure of about Rs 15,000 would be incurred on purifying rituals.
However, Khandwa's Muslim Youth Committee came forward to perform last rites. Committee member Ahmed Patel wondered over existence of such traditions despite 60 years of Independence.
Unfortunately, 'Gond' community was represented by Mr Vijay Shah, who is a cabinet minister, he said.
Rameshwar's body was buried at local crematorium as per traditions of 'Gond' community after taking permission from his family members.
Mr Patel said as per traditions of 'Gond' community, deceased is buried. However, they would not have any problem if the deceased's family members wanted funeral pyre cremation.