FIROZABAD, UP — The country will never learn it seems. Not even the death of the brave CRPF jawans killed in a militant attack in Pompore near Srinagar can change us as a nation. This time it was caste bias that shamed the country. While militants provoke us from across the border in a time when the entire nation should have stood together mourn the loss, sickening caste prejudice was on display in Nagla Kewal village of Firozabad district in Uttar Pradesh. Constable Vir Singh’s funeral was halted by some ‘upper caste’ villagers who refused to allow public land to be used for this last rites.
So much for nationalism.
Why were these so-called ‘Upper castes’ villagers refusing the use of public land for the cremation of the slain soldier? Because he was from the Nat(acrobats) community. It was only after the intervention of district officials that villagers agreed to give up a 10 by 10-meter plot for the last rites.
The incident took place on Sunday afternoon when the family of the slain soldier wished to erect a statue of him near village road at a public land, where every year local fair takes place during festive times.
Speaking to TOI, 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.”
Last rites of Head Constable Vir Singh who lost his life in Pampore (J&K) terror attack, performed in Firozabad (UP) pic.twitter.com/woNvPpQMst
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) June 27, 2016
The 52-year-old Vir Singh was the sole bread earner of his family, who joined CRPF in 1981. His family stays in approximately 500 sq foot one room set home with tin shed as the roof. He left behind his three children, including a 22-year daughter (Rajni) who is pursuing MSc and two sons – 18-year-old Ramandeep pursuing BSc and 16-year-old Sandeep who just cleared intermediate.
His younger brother Ranjeet is a labourer, while his septuagenarian father Ramsneh is a rickshaw puller in Firozabad. Father of the brave soldier 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.”
When TOI contacted SDM Shikohabad, Chandra Bhan, he said, “We have resolved every matter and the entire district will pay respectful homage to our brave soldier.”
Zila Panchayat president Vijay Pratap Yadav announced to build grand stone gateway at the entrance of village in the remembrance of the slain soldier.