Family of Pipili victim refuse to cremate body

Bhubaneswar: The family of Pipili rape victim on Friday refused to cremate the body of the dalit girl who died on Thursday after remaining in coma for over six months, leading Governor M C Bhandre to seek a status report from the state government on the matter. The governor also asked the Puri district police to `respect the wishes` of the parents of the 19-year-old Dalit girl for the last rites, sources said.

A delegation of Dalit Adhkar Sangathan led by Haladhar Sethi met the governor and sought his intervention. "The governor has assured that the victim`s family will be given opportunity to cremate the body," Sethi said. The father of the victim, Babuli Behera, alleged that the police forcibly took away the body to Pipili on Thursday night while the family wanted to take it to Ghatika for a last `darshan` by their community.

"The police took the ambulance carrying the body and we were left behind here. Since they took the body against our wishes, let the police do whatever it wants. We have decided not to participate in cremation protesting the role of police," Behera said.

Puri sub-collector Udhab Charan Das said a medical team from district headquarters hospital at Puri had certified that the body was decomposing, therefore, it was shifted to the morgue. "Our people waited for the family members to take back the body. But, none of them turn up at Arjungada village. We will wait till arrival of the family members for the cremation," Das said.