The Jharkhand health department has decided to exhume the body of a tribal youth whose suspected “hunger death” has kicked off a political storm in the poll-bound state.
Officials said an autopsy will be carried out to determine the exact cause of death of Kamlesh Munda.
Munda, 20, was found dead on September 25 in his house at Betulkhurd village in Ramgarh district, about 70 km from Ranchi.
Munda, from an economically marginalised group, was “adopted” by the state government 11 years ago after the death of his parents and sister within a fortnight, also due to hunger.
District health officials said that no specific date for the autopsy has been fixed but added that Munda’s body is likely to be will be exhumed by mid-next week.
Chief investigating officer in the case, Dr Prem Kumar, said “the autopsy has to be done within 15 days to determine the actual cause of death of Munda”.
With assembly elections due by the end of the year, the death of Munda is threatening to become a political issue.
The opposition BJP and AJSU-Party have accused the Hemant Soren government of failing to check hunger and malnutrition deaths in the state.
Ramgarh deputy commissioner Abu Imran has denied that Munda died due to hunger and claimed that the tribal youth was an epileptic besides being a “chain smoker and alcoholic”.
“Poor intake of food, his disease and habits could have led to his death,” Imran said.
Munda’s body was buried by his brother Sunil before he reported the matter to the administration on Friday.
However, the administration has already suspended three panchayat workers and decided to withhold the salary of four block circle officers for their alleged inaction in the matter.
Show-cause notices have also been served on sub-divisional officer (SDO), district welfare officer (DWO) and district education officer (DEO) over Munda’s death.