The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CPM holds court over last rites

Orgram (Burdwan), Sept. 30: Two brothers here were thrashed by villagers, allegedly instigated by CPM leaders, for not cremating their father the Hindu way and not shaving their heads.

Nihar and Sudhir Haldar, followers of Matua Mahasangha a cult that does not abide by many Hindu rituals lost their father during a trip to Nabadwip, Nadia, and completed his last rites there itself. When they returned to their village, Orgram, about 240 km from Calcutta, residents raised questions.

A village body headed by CPM leaders asked the brothers to make an effigy, cremate it and shave their heads . When they refused to follow the directive, they were beaten up. The villagers boycotted them.

Even those who sided with the brothers were boycotted by the rest of the village they were prevented from using roads and drinking water facilities and their children were barred from school.

The brothers went to police on August 24. Five persons were arrested for the torture but they obtained bail and returned to the village to torment the duo.

Ashgar Ali Khan, CPMs Bhatar zonal committee member, confirmed that the brothers were beaten up and ostracised. Why cant they get their heads tonsured if everyone else in the village does that' However, I apologise on behalf of those who beat them up. It was not the right thing to do, he said.

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