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Rashmi Rekha Das

Despite awareness and several measures by the government, discrimination on the grounds of caste and superstitions continue to prevail in rural areas of Odisha. 

In yet another instance of caste-based discrimination, a man and his wife had to carry the body of his mother to cremation ground and perform her last rites singlehandedly after villagers refused to offer help over casteism. 

This incident took place at Bairagi Mutt village under Jeypore block in Koraput district.

It is learnt that the reason behind the villagers staying away from the elderly woman’s funeral is superstition.

As per sources, Mukta Paraja’s son had food at the house of a person belonging to other caste six months back following which the villagers had ostracised the family.  

Mukta’s family had to suffer a lot after being refrained from social gathering. When Mukta died on Thursday, the villagers boycotted her funeral. Later, the deceased's son Mangala Paraha and his wife carried the bier to the cremation ground with much difficulty and performed the last rites.

Mukta’s son Mangala Paraja said, “None came forward to help us after my mother died. My wife helped me carry the body to the crematorium ground. I had to pay the price of consuming food outside our caste. Everyone stood as mute spectator, none came to my rescue.”

Mangala’s wife said, “My mother-in-law was not well for the past few days. She had stopped eating rice for which she was given bamboo shoot and finger millet. Yesterday she went to sleep after having finger millet. When we called her in the morning on Thursday, she was no more. We really felt bad when no one from the community helped us to carry the body for her funeral.”

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