Before giving the last salute to three policemen killed in a landmine blast in Chhattisgarh, here is a story of indignity. Their coffins were sent in a garbage-collection vehicle to Dantewada district headquarters. The official reason is that no other mode of transport was available.
On Sunday night, four policemen died after a vehicle carrying a team of seven members hit a landmine planted by Maoists in Dantewada.
The fourth died when he was being sent to Raipur for treatment.
Admitting that the bodies were brought in a municipality vehicle, Dantewada superintendent of police Ankit Garg told HT the two ambulances of National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) were pressed into service to take the injured troopers to Jagdalpur and Raipur.
“We had to act with whatever resources remained,” the SP said.
“After the (salute), arrangements were made to carry the martyrs in ambulances to their native places,” Garg said. Dantewada collector OP Choudhary said he had ordered an enquiry into the matter.
The story of indignity did not end here. The bodies of Laxman Bhagat and Aslan Ekka, who belonged to Raigarh district, were sent in a poorly maintained ambulance that developed a snag and broke down on Tuesday morning on the outskirts of Raigarh city.
Finally the ambulance from the district Red Cross Society office arrived to offer assistance. “We reached within 15 minutes after information reached us,” said Mukesh Sharma, in charge of Red Cross Society in Raigarh.
The incidents have evoked strong reactions from the Congress.
“It is an insult to the martyrs who were killed fighting the Maoists. This shows the insensitivity of the ruling BJP,” said Nand Kumar Patel, state Congress president.