Locked in a post office for more than 36 hours in the cold, a 70-year-old man has died in Lohardaga district of Jharkhand.
His body was recovered on Wednesday. The post office was under lock and key on Tuesday on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, the festival of harvest celebrated across India.
Pirdag Oraon, the deceased, had gone to the office at Kuru village, around 110 km west of state capital Ranchi, on Monday to withdraw pension money. But, he did not return.
His family members allege Pirdag was mistakenly left inside when the office was locked. "How can they miss out a person?" said Kumud, the eldest son of Pirdag.
He alleged the police did not take prompt action when the family lodged a missing complaint. "We had lodged a missing complaint with the police. However, they were unresponsive."
The police station is a stone’s throw from the post office, where the septuagenarian was locked for two nights.
Kumud said his father was suffering from age-related ailments and could not survive the harsh cold without warm clothes and food.
A cold wave is sweeping Jharkhand, which has been experiencing a sharp drop in night temperatures. In rural areas such as Kuru, the night temperature is hovering around 3 degrees Celsius.
The police, Kumud alleged, did not conduct a post-mortem and handed over the body to the family. "The police did not send the body for post-mortem. They have not even charged the post office staff."
Kuru police station sub-inspector Gangaram Pandey said, "The matter is being investigated."