New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission has sent a notice to Bihar government over reports of a man carrying his wife’s body on a motorcycle after allegedly being denied a mortuary van by a hospital in Purnia.
Expressing its displeasure over the incident, the NHRC has observed it was “not the first” such instance which has come to its attention.
“At several places across the country such shameful incidents have happened and the commission has also taken cognisance in some of these cases. It seems that authorities are lacking on their part in understanding the sensitivity involved in such situations,” the commission said on Monday.
Taking suo Motu cognisance of a media report that authorities at the District Purnia Sadar Hospital, where she had died, “failed to provide him a mortuary van”, the NHRC has issued the notice to the state’s chief secretary and sought a report in four weeks.
Susheela Devi, 50, had died of illness at the hospital on June 2. When the husband requested for a vehicle to carry her body, the medical staff had told him to arrange on his own, according to the report, the NHRC said.
“Reportedly, the man, a poor labourer, approached the driver of an ambulance, who demanded Rs2,500 (Dh142), which he [husband] could not afford. Ultimately, with the help of his son, the man had to carry the body on a motorcycle, holding it as a pillion rider,” the commission said.
“This amounts to violation of right to life and dignity of the persons and is also indicative of negligence by the hospital administration and lack of proper infrastructure,” it said.
According to the media report, carried on June 4, the civil surgeon of the hospital has said that mortuary van is not available at the Sadar Hospital and that people have to arrange it on their own, the NHRC said.
“The District Magistrate has reportedly ordered a probe into the matter,” the commission said.
The incident serves as a painful reminder of the similar cases reported in other parts of the country.
Last August, the country was shocked to see images of Dana Majhi carrying his wife’s body slung over his shoulder for 10km to reach his village in Odisha’s Kalahandi district after being denied help from the hospital authorities.
Last month, 45-year-old labourer Udayveer had to carry his teenage son’s body on his shoulders as he was allegedly denied an ambulance by a hospital in Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh.
In a video which had then gone viral on social and electronic media, the labourer had alleged that doctors at the Etawah government hospital did not treat his son Pushpendra and turned him away.
Taking suo Motu cognisance of media reports, the NHRC had issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government.
The commission had observed that the content of the media report was “painful and indicative of insensitive and negligent attitude” of the doctors at the hospital where most of the visitors are from poor families.
It had sought a detailed report from the chief secretary, including information on ambulance services offered by the government-run hospital.