The Madras High Court on Thursday took up on its own for adjudication a case of blocked access routes of a Dalits' cremation ground, forcing the community members to drop dead bodies of their relatives from a bridge into a river in the Vellore district.
Taking cognisance of a media report on the blocked access to the cremation ground due to encroachments, a bench of justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad sought the state government's stand on the issue.
The bench issued notices to the Tamil Nadu Home secretary, the Vellore district collector and the village tehsildar after making them respondents to the issue and sought their stands on the media report.
The bench took note of the issue after the Central government's Assistant Solicitor General Karthikeyan brought the report titled "Dalits 'airdrop' dead in Tamil Nadu" published by a national English daily to the judges' attention.
According to the report, the cremation ground on the banks of Palar river was allegedly encroached upon by two people, forcing Dalits to drop their dead from atop a 20-feet-high bridge for the past four years.
As per the report, Dalit residents of Narayanapuram village near Vanniyambadi town in the district have been lowering bodies to the riverbank for the past four years.
Though the Dalits said they didn't face any direct caste discrimination or threats from other caste groups, they blamed the district administration for not removing the encroachments.