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After 22 years, justice fails Dalits

Caste Hindus who disrupted Dalit cremation acquitted as court loses case papers

Rakesh Bhatnagar
Thursday, July 05, 2007

NEW DELHI: Twenty-two years after around 20 upper caste Hindus were accused of meting out inhuman treatment to the body of a Dalit which had been brought for cremation, the Uttarakhand high court has acquitted all of them. Reason: the sessions court’s records had been “weeded out” in 1999 and, thus, could not be reconstructed.

A copy of this unprecedented judgment delivered by Justice Dharam Veer last week has been made available in Delhi now.

The case involves a Dalit called Barfu, who had lodged a police complaint in 1985 that some 200 Hindus had attacked mourners carrying his father Bachu’s body for the last rites in village Dugadda, the place where Bachu wanted to be cremated.

Enraged axe-wielding caste Hindus allegedly obstructed the funeral procession. They are also alleged to have insulted the body and abused the mourners. The complaint said the caste Hindus declared that the ‘body’ of a scheduled caste member couldn’t be cremated at Dugadda because “it was a cremation ground for Savarna Hindus.” [more]