3-day deadline to solve Muzaffarpur skeletons mystery. Probe begins
A three-member committee on Tuesday began its probe to find the source of human skeletal remains found near Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur, where most of the patients diagnosed with acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) are being treated.
Human skeletal remains were found strewn near a garbage dump and in the bushes close to the post-mortem section of the state-run SKMCH last Saturday.
The hospital has grabbed headlines in connection with the AES outbreak in the state in which at least 140 children have died since early June. The epicentre of the outbreak is Muzaffarpur.
Muzaffarpur district magistrate Alok Ranjan Ghosh had formed the panel on Monday and asked it to file its report within three days.
“The skeletons seem to be very old and it would be premature to arrive at any conclusion so early,” deputy development commissioner (DDC) of Muzaffarpur Ujjwal Kumar, the committee’s head, said while speaking to reporters.
The recovery of human skeletal remains in SKMCH has created a furore in the state. The hospital is already struggling following the death of 140 children due to the mystery disease, whose causative factor remains unknown and affects the brain of children.
An investigation team of the SKMCH accompanied by policemen had visited the spot on Saturday. One or two of the dead bodies were found charred and many skeletons were found strewn on the ground or stuffed into sacks in the forested area.
Hospital and administration sources have been reiterating that these skeletons have nothing to do with the recent AES deaths.
SKMCH’s superintendent SK Shahi said that the postmortem department takes care of the dead bodies.
Hospital sources said as per the standard operating procedure, a hospital has to immediately contact the nearest police station when it receives any dead body and file a report. The corpse has to be kept in the postmortem room for 72 hours after the report has been filed.
“If no family member arrives for identification of the body within 72 hours, it is the duty of the postmortem department to bury or burn the body following the stipulated procedure,” Shahi said.