Madhya’s Pradesh’s Tikamgarh municipality has converted a garbage truck into a hearse to ferry unclaimed bodies to crematorium, sparking outrage.
The municipality’s action drew widespread condemnation after a video of a body being carried in the “modified” vehicle on Thursday evening went viral.
Tikamgarh’s chief municipal officer (CMO) Vijay Shankar Trivedi, however, defended the civic body’s ingenuity saying since the vehicle was not being used for collecting trash, it was utilised for carrying bodies as the civic body did not have a ‘Shav vahan.’
This is not the first incident of showing disrespect towards the dead in the state. In September 2016, a man had to carry the body of his mother-in-law on his bicycle in Shahdol. In October same year, a man in Bhind district carried the body of his son on a motorcycle as hospital authorities allegedly denied him an ambulance or a hearse .
Incidentally, the district hospital has a hearse, but the municipality did not place any requisition for it.
“Had anyone approached us, we would have given the vehicle,” said Dr Varsha Rai, the chief medical and health officer of the hospital.
Tikamgarh Kotwali police had found a body lying on a dry river bed at Patha village in the state’s Sagar district on Thursday afternoon.
As identity of the deceased could not be established, police after autopsy handed over the corpse to the municipality for the last rites.
Opposition Congress, along with other social organisations, will submit a memorandum to Sagar district collector on Monday demanding “strict action” against those who disrespected the dead.
It was inhuman to carry a body in a garbage vehicle, Congress leader and former Tikamgarh MLA Yadvendra Singh told HT.