Officials and sanitation workers at Indore’s central jail performed the last rites of an inmate after his family refused to receive his body.
Chaggan Singh, 50, who had been serving life in prison for killing his wife in Barwani in 2007, died after a prolonged illness on Friday.
Singh was shifted to the Indore prison a month ago after remaining in the Barwani district jail for about nine years.
On January 25, he was admitted to MY Hospital where he underwent intestinal surgery twice, but doctors failed to save him. After his death, the jail authorities sent a message to his family in Barwani town, about 150 kms from Indore, but they declined to claim the body. Finally, jail personnel on Sunday decided to cremate the body themselves as per rituals.
Deputy inspector general (jail) Sanjay Pandey told HT: “This is not the first time when we cremated a jail inmate. Every year about 24 to 30 inmates die at Indore central jail, and in 10 to 15 percent cases, families of the deceased refuse to receive bodies, which could be because of their poor background or out of anger for the deceased person.”
Singh’s two sons, though well-settled in their hometown, resented their father who had murdered their mother, Pandey said.
“After Singh’s death, we had followed all norms mentioned in the jail manual. We called Om Singh, the elder son of the deceased, to complete all the formalities and receive his father’s body for cremation. Initially he declined our request, but on persuasion he agreed to come on the condition that he would only participate in the funeral procession, but would not offer support to his bier or lit his pyre,” he said.
With no other way out, five jail officials and three sanitation workers contributed about Rs 3,000 and performed Singh’s last rites at a crematorium near the jail.
What jail manual says
In case an inmate dies inside jail or at hospital, the government provides Rs180 to his family for cremation. If the jail is situated in a far-flung area, the prison administration also provides them vehicle to carry the inmate’s body to their native village.