Khandwa, MP, Oct 2 (UNI) A tribal 'Gond' family refused to accept a family member's body as it was touched by people belonging to the Scheduled Castes during its post-mortem at Kalapatha village in this district of Madhya Pradesh, police today said.
Rameshwar (70), a priest at a Devi temple in Patajan village, fell from his bicycle from a bridge over Garanedi river while on his way to home on September 29. He fell unconscious and was rushed to hospital where he died without regaining consciousness.
The deceased was identified on the basis of name embossed on his hand.
Police said family members refused to take the body as it was touched by sanitary workers during the post-mortem.
Upon being pressured by police, Rameshwar's nephew Ganeshi Hazarilal arrived with two-three people but refused to touch the body.
Ganeshi said a person is boycotted from society for a month if he is touched by an untouchable. He can return only after spending some money on certain rituals. Likewise, a body also became impure if it was touched by an untouchable.
Citing this tradition, he said 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 the last rites. Committee member Ahmed Patel wondered over the existence of such traditions even after 60 years of Independence.
Unfortunately, 'Gond' community was represented by Mr Vijay Shah, who is a cabinet minister, he said.
Mr Patel said customarily in the 'Gond' community, a deceased is buried. However, they would not have any problem if the deceased's family members wanted a funeral pyre cremation.
Rameshwar's body was buried at a local crematorium as per the traditions of 'Gond' community after taking permission from his family members.