Bahujan Samaj Party Chief Mayawati on Tuesday expressed outrage over a widely-circulated video showing a Dalit woman’s body being removed from a funeral pyre near Agra in Uttar Pradesh, allegedly by members of an upper caste, and demanded an investigation into the incident.
The incident took place in Kakarpura village on July 20, according to the Hindustan Times. The 25-year old woman’s husband said that she died after a prolonged illness. “We had the pyre prepared but were forced to take the dead body away to village Nagla Lal Dass, about four kilometers away, where the cremation was undertaken finally,” the woman’s husband was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
“There was no objection by those in the village, but half a dozen members of the upper caste community came and objected to cremation by us as we are Gujrati ‘Nat’,” he added.
In a series of tweets, Mayawati said that the incident was extremely shameful. “In Uttar Pradesh near Agra, the body of a Dalit woman was removed from the funeral pyre by people with a casteist mentality because the cremation ghat belonged to upper castes,” she tweeted in Hindi. “The incident is condemnable.”
“A high-level inquiry must be done by the Uttar Pradesh government,” she added. “The culprits should be given the harshest punishment so that such an incident does not happen again.”
The police, meanwhile, said that they have not received a complaint about the incident. “Circle Officer for Achhnera circle has been assigned the task to find out more about the matter,” Superintendent of Police (West) Ravi Kumar told Hindustan Times. “Necessary action will follow on his finding.”