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D Ravikumar, VCK MP, told The Indian Express that there needs to be a national policy on burial and cremation grounds to prevent caste-based discrimination in the burial of the deceased.

What issue did you raise during Zero Hour today?

Despite the outlawing of caste-based discrimination in all aspects of life, burial grounds and crematoriums continue to be segregated based on caste.

So what did you ask the government to do?

The government is providing financial assistance for the construction of crematoriums at various levels, which perpetuates untouchability and goes against the Constitution. There should be a nationwide policy for common burial grounds and crematoriums.

How serious is the issue?

It becomes a law and order issue when attempts are made to bury bodies. When land is not available, people from the SC and ST communities attempt to bury bodies on the waterfront or elsewhere, leading to conflicts and social issues. Members of the SC/ST community still have to struggle for land to live on and to bury their dead.

You belong to the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu. Have you approached the state government?

When I was an MLA, I raised the issue in the Assembly. I have requested the government to establish solar-powered crematoriums in rural areas, but nothing has been done.

Did you try addressing it in any other forum?

The issue has been addressed in multiple judgments of the Madras High Court, which have directed the abolition of caste-based burial grounds and crematoriums.

Liz Mathew is the Deputy Editor of The Indian Express and writes on politics…

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