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Devbrat Patnaik

Malkangiri: Palpable tension prevailed in Dudiguda village under Chalanaguda panchayat here on Tuesday when a dead was denied dignity by the villagers just because his conversion was unacceptable to them. Following a prolonged illness, 70-year-old Pandu Madkami of Dudiguda died last night and what followed that glaringly reflected the prevalence of religious-based differences even in death.

As deceased Pandu was a convert, his family members were restricted from burying his body in the common crematorium in the village. The family protested the ‘illegal’ act of religious-based segregation, but there was none to hear their desperate cry.

The villagers refused to accept the elderly man’s conversion and asked the family to bury him outside the village. This eventually led to a stand-off that lasted for almost 12 hours while the helpless family members kept waiting with the body of dead Pandu and continued to plead to allow conduct of funeral rites at the village cremation ground.

However, receiving information, Malkangiri police along with local Tehsildar reached the spot to pacify the irate villagers. It was only after their intervention, the family of deceased Pandu was allowed to bury him in the village crematorium.

READ | Two Days On, Body Awaits Cremation

In another shocking incident that surfaced two days ago, a school teacher Ajay Palei who died in a hospital in Cuttack and later taken to his native village Kandira in Kendrapara was denied a dignified funeral reportedly over his inter-caste marriage. After hours, some members of the Maa Sarala Help Foundation offered to lend a helping hand to the wife of the deceased to perform last rights, and the body was finally cremated in the wee hours next day.

READ | Congress Alleges Massive Corruption In Swachh Bharat Prog & PMGSY In Swabhiman Anchal

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