Bhubaneswar, August 16 (LocalWire): A tribal family at a remote village in Mayurbhanj district has become the latest victim of the complex social system and tradition-bound practices of the tribal clan with the bereaved family being denied permission to perform the last rites of a deceased.
As the dogmatic villagers opposed tooth and nail the cremation of the body, the cremation was finally allowed today afternoon, 36 hours after the death of Parbati Soren, with the intervention of the local police.
The incident occurred at Kuchei village under Kuliana police station jurisdiction. “After we received reports of denial of cremation, we rushed to the village to sort out the differences between the villagers and the family of the deceased,” inspector Kamalakant Das of Kuliana police station told the LocalWire.
The 27-year-old Soren had died of illness in the wee hours of August 15 and the local villagers had prevented the family members from taking the body for its last journey arguing that the deceased hailed from a different tribal clan.
“While husband Kandra Soren was of Santhali caste, the deceased represented another clan lower in the hierarchy of the complex tribal caste system.
As per the prevailing tradition, Kandara had earlier been asked by the villagers to cough up penalties in the form of a male goat, three cocks, besides a barrel of handia, the traditional brew,” the inspector stated.
The dispute was amicably settled after the husband of the deceased agreed to pay the penalty levied upon him by the village community.
“We were, however, forced to conduct post mortem of the body to prevent any legal complications. The post mortem found it to be a case of natural death due to liver cirrhosis,” Das said.
The body was later handed over to the deceased’s family.
The family members were also given Rs 2,000 cash as an ex-gratia support under the state-sponsored Hariishchandra Yojana.
The body was later consigned to flames under the supervision of local sarpanch, and in accordance with tribal rituals, he added.
Odisha is home to a diverse group of 62 Scheduled Tribe communities and 13 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) who follow a distinctive and unique lifestyle, culture, costumes besides the traditional art.