While the martyrdom of CRPF soldiers in Kashmir on Saturday shook every Indian, the upper cast residents in one martyr’s own villagers in Uttar Prades’s Shikohabad district raised huge objections to the use of public place for his cremation.
Constable Vir Singh was among the CRPF soldiers martyred in the militant attack in Pampore on Saturday.
A Times of India report said that an unseemly display of caste prejudice almost halted constable Vir Singh’s funeral at his village, Nagla Kewal in Shikohabad, Firozabad district.
Upper castes of the village reportedly refused to allow a public land to be used for the cremation of Singh, who belonged to the Nat(acrobats) community.
The upper caste members relented but only after the intervention of district officials. But they agreed to give up only a 10 by 10 metre plot for the last rites.
The incident took place on Sunday afternoon, when the family of the slain soldier expressed their desire to erect a statue of Singh near a village road at a public land.
The gram Pradhan of the village, Vijay Singh of Kanthari gram panchayat said, “In the morning, the local villagers had raised objections over martyred soldier’s family’s demand to cremate his body on public land and then erect a statue of him. But later, after long hours of talk with SDM, the villagers agreed to respect the family demand.”
The 52-year-old Singh had joined CRPF in 1981. His rickshaw-puller father is worried about the future of his three grandchildren and their education and upbringing.
Among his three children, are 22-year daughter Rajni, who is pursuing MSc and two sons – 18-year-old son Ramandeep pursuing BSc and 16-year-old (Sandeep) who just cleared intermediate.
Dad Ramsneh said, “My son gave up his life to protect the land of our country, but over here our own people have objections to give a 10 by 10 sq meter land for his cremation. I don’t know, who will now take care of his children.”
SDM Shikohabad, Chandra Bhan was quoted by TOI as saying, “We have resolved every matter and the entire district will pay respectful homage to our brave soldier.”
Meanwhile, Zila Panchayat president Vijay Pratap Yadav has announced that a grand stone gateway at the entrance of village will be built in the remembrance of slain soldier.