Rashmi Rekha Das

In a shameful act, an elderly woman had to bury her husband’s body as none from her village came forward to do the last rites of the deceased.

This incident took place at Badanai village under Champua block in Kenojhar district. 

According to sources, Kati Munda admitted her husband Bhanja Munda in Champua hospital after the latter complained of severe fever. As Bhanja’s temperature did not come down even after taking pills, Champua hospital authorities referred him to Keonjhar District Headquarters Hospital where Bhanja died while undergoing treatment.

Kati had borrowed Rs 1,500 to hire a van so that she could carry her husband’s body to his village.  Despite her requests to fellow villagers, none came forward to do the last rites of the deceased.  Finding no alternative,  Kati had to dig a hole near her house and bury her husband’s body there as part of funeral rituals.

“I used to lo live with my husband. We had no chid. He was suffering from fever for last couple of days. I took him to Champua hospital initially and later shifted to Keonjhar District Headquarters Hospital. After he died, I had to borrow Rs 1500 for bringing his body to village.  However, none extended a helping hand to cremate the body despite my requests,” Kati said.

She further said, “After villagers said no to cremate my husband’s body, I thought there is no point  crying over this and I decided to shoulder the responsibility of burying the body.”

Social activist Umi Daniel said, “It is astonishing to find such mindset of people in tribal-dominated areas. Tribal people usually stand united in what concerns them. I think the couple might not have good terms with their fellow villagers. Still, villagers should not act like this.”

“Besides, there are many instances when people do not come forward to do the last rites of disease-stricken person fearing contamination of the disease. We have seen such occurrence during covid times. Local sarpanch and district administration should take a call on it”, maintained Umi.