NHRC notice to Odisha govt over ‘undignified’ treatment to bodies

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Bhubaneswar: Taking suo motu cognisance of media reports about alleged undignified treatment of bodies of two women, the NHRC today issued a notice to the Odisha government and asked it to submit a report within a month.

The notice has been sent through the state chief secretary who has been given four weeks time to submit a report, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said in a press release.

The first incident pertains to a man carrying his wife’s body for 10 km as the district headquarters hospital at Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi allegedly did not provide him ambulance services.

The second incident is also about the non-availability of ambulance services due to which an old woman s body was slung on a bamboo pole to carry it in Balasore after she was crushed by a goods train near Soro Railway Station.

The Commission has observed that if found true, both these incidents, raise serious questions about violation of rights of the two deceased persons, the release said.

Stating that Right to Life of a person under Article 21 of the Constitution would also mean that a body is treated with respect, it also referred to reports about “Mahaprayana” scheme for free transportation of bodies from government hospitals to the residences of the deceased.

It said according to the media reports, Dana Majhi’s wife died of tuberculosis at district headquarters hospital at Bhawanipatna and the hospital authorities did not offer any help for transporting the body despite Majhi’s requests.

He was forced to wrap the body in a cloth and carry it on his shoulder to his home at Melaghara village, 60 km away from the hospital.

After the matter came to light, he was provided with a vehicle to complete the remaining 50-km stretch.

In the second incident, media reports said 80-year-old widow, Salamani Behera was run over by a goods train near Soro Railway Station in Balasore district. Her body was taken to the Community Health Centre.

The Government Railway Police reached the Centre after 12 hours and they could not arrange an ambulance to take the body to Balasore hospital for post-mortem.

Since rigor mortis had developed, the police personnel in order to put the body inside a sack allegedly broke its limbs by climbing over the body and finally carried it all the way from to the CHC to Soro railway station on their shoulders by tying it to a bamboo pole in the full view of the public

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