A 38-year-old man spent five hours on the streets with the body of his wife — who had apparently died due to chikungunya — on Monday night after being denied permission by his landlord to enter his room. He was also turned away by the hospital that did not give any discharge papers.
The incident was reported from east Delhi’s Anand Vihar area.
Eyewitnesses said the man, Chotelal, kept shuttling his wife’s body between Hegdewar Hospital, his home in Karkardooma village and his tea stall near Cross River shopping mall.
The man, sources said, didn’t have enough money to preserve his wife’s body in an air-conditioned ambulance or perform her last rites.
No one came to the aid of Chotelal, till a constable of the Anand Vihar police station spotted the ambulance that had carried the body and questioned its driver.
The constable informed his station house officer, who arranged a space at the village pradhan’s house to preserve the body for the night with ice.
On Tuesday afternoon, the man finally cremated his wife’s body with the help of the police and the village pradhan Bhanwar Singh.
Police said Chotelal’s wife, 35-year-old Anju, died around 9pm on Monday at Hedgewar Hospital. Chotelal claimed that his wife died due to ‘chikungunya’.
The hospital authorities, however, did not provide him a doctor’s prescription note or the death certificate, he alleged.
Chotelal alleged that after his wife’s death, the hospital staff asked him to take his wife’s body home on his own. “They did not give me any documents,” he said.
Clueless about what to do next, Chotelal stood outside the emergency ward with Anju’s body on a stretcher.
He was then approached by a private ambulance driver who agreed to ferry the body back for `200.
Around 11 pm, Chotelal arrived outside his rented home with Anju’s body and requested his landlord, Bablu, to help him carry the body to their third floor room.
Bablu not only refused to carry the body, he did not allow Chotelal into the building.
Bablu, however, gave Chotelal `2,000 and asked him to go to the hospital and come back with the papers required for the cremation.
“I never stopped him (Chotelal) from carrying his wife’s body to his room. I just told him to go back to the hospital and bring back proper paperwork for the cremation before entering the building,” Bablu later claimed.
Chotelal then went back to the hospital in the ambulance but was refused entry by the guards. He then requested the driver to drop him back near his tea stall, where some of his friends lived.
It was there that the constable, Vikram, spotted the ambulance.
Contacted, Suchil Kumar, medical superintendent of Dr Hedgewar Arogya Sansthan, said he did not wish to comment on the matter.