Pipili victim cremation row comes under judicial scanner

Cuttack: Taking note of an allegation that Bhubaneswar police hijacked the body of Pipili rape and murder victim after her death, Justice P K Mohanty Commission of Enquiry today issued notice to the state government asking it to file an affidavit stating as to why the body was cremated two days after her death.

Expressing grave concern over the manner in which the "overzealous" policemen acted and did not respect the wishes of the victim`s family members, the commission wanted the government to explain about the developments that unfolded while the family members were carrying the body of the victim from SCB Medical College and Hospital here to Puri Swargadwara for cremation.

The Commission`s directions came while adjudicating over an application filed by advocate Nishikant Mishra, who alleged that the state government vis-a-vis Bhubaneswar police behaved in a "vindictive" manner and tried to hurt the sentiments of the bereaved family members by disrupting the last journey of the victim, who died after battling with death for over six months in comatose state.

"The police acting at the behest of their political bosses hijacked the body of the victim that was on its way for cremation at Puri Swargadwara, and left it unattended for over 20 hours and finally the decomposed body was cremated after nearly sixty hours of her death," advocate Mishra said.

Mishra`s contention was however, opposed to by the government advocates saying that the controversy over the cremation of the body doesn`t come under the purview of the terms of reference of the commission. Overruling the plea, the council however issued notice to the government.

Amid high drama, the Bhubaneswar police had intervened in the last journey of the victim and forcibly took away the ambulance carrying the body to Pipili while the family members wanted to carry it to Ghatikia, near Bhubaneswar, for the last `darshan` of the body by some of their relatives. While the family members were left behind at Bhubaneswar, the police left the body at Pipili unattended as a result the body got decomposed, Mishra alleged in his petition.