The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued a notice to the Bihar government on Monday after news reports carried information of a man carrying his wife’s body on a motorcycle after allegedly being denied a mortuary van by a hospital in Purnia, reported news agency PTI. The NHRC observed that the incident was ‘not the first’. “At several places across the country, such shameful incidents have happened and the commission has also taken cognisance in some of these cases. It seems that authorities are lacking on their part in understanding the sensitivity involved in such situations,” the commission told the state government, and sought a response in four weeks.
On June 2, Susheela Devi died of an illness at the District Purnia Sadar Hospital. When her husband requested authorities to provide a vehicle to transport her body, medical staff reportedly told him to arrange his own. “Reportedly, the man, a poor labourer, approached the driver of an ambulance, who demanded Rs 2,500, which he (husband) could not afford. Ultimately, with the help of his son, the man had to carry the body on a motorcycle, holding it as a pillion rider,” the commission said.
“This amounts to violation of right to life and dignity of the persons and is also indicative of negligence by the hospital administration and lack of proper infrastructure,” it added. The District Magistrate has ordered a probe into the matter.
The incident is not an isolated one. Last August, images of Dana Majhi carrying his wife’s body over his shoulder as he walked 10 kilometres to reach his village in Kalahandi district, Odisha, emerged. He too was denied help from hospital authorities. Last month, a 45-year-old labourer Udayveer was forced to carry his teenage son’s body on his shoulders after he was allegedly denied an ambulance by a hospital in Etawah district, Uttar Pradesh. The UP government was also issued a notice by the commission.
(With inputs from PTI)