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Giving the dead their due

india Updated: Jan 05, 2007 04:36 IST

Fourteen years ago, DN Singh, who was then a platoon commander, found a decomposing body lying unclaimed after autopsy on the premises of the Sadar Hospital. Finding that neither hospital authorities nor the police were bothered to give the body an honourable cremation, Singh took it upon himself not only to get the body cremated but to perform the last rites too.

In the days that followed, people began seeking appointments to express their admiration for his selfless act. Singh himself felt good about what he had, so much so that he put forward the proposal of founding an organisation that would devote itself to arranging for the cremation of unclaimed bodies. And that was how Lawaris Sewa Kendra (LSK) was born.

Singh still does what he did all those years ago, and the feeling of satisfaction just grows stronger. Publicity or anything else do not interest him though, he says.

Thanks to LSK, nearly 1,287 people have had a decent funeral. The organisation also distributes medicines, blankets and study material among the needy and poor. And besides giving the dead their due, the organisation also believes in giving new life to the less fortunate. So far, it has adopted four newborn babies and handed them over to loving families for adoption.

According to Singh, LSK respects all religions and whenever the religion of the unclaimed body can be ascertained, its last rites are performed accordingly.

The organisation finances all its work from contributions from either members or voluntary donors. However, Singh said that LSK needs some financial assistance from the government as expenses incurred on last rites have gone up steeply.

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