April 19th, 2017
In Majuli, Assam, the constituency represented by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, local TV news channels on Tuesday telecast the footage of a tribal man carrying the body of his 18-year-old brother on a bicycle due to lack of motorable roads. Within hours of the broadcast, CM Sonowal ordered a probe into the matter and directed a top medical official to rush to area
Local officials reported that the patient’s family hailed from Balijan village in Lakhimpur district and left with his body without waiting for the hearse van.
“What we have found is that the patient belongs to a village that falls under Lakhimpur district. But his family members decided to bring him to the civil hospital in Garamur, which is closer. Apparently, their village Balijan does not have a motorable road link, and they have to cross a makeshift bamboo bridge to reach the main road to Garamur,” said Majuli Deputy Commissioner P G Jha according to The Indian Express.
The patient, Dimple Das, was diagnosed with a “severe respiratory problem”. But as the doctor tried to provide him with oxygen supply, he passed away. “The doctor called for the hearse van to send the body home, but the family left with the body before the driver arrived,” said Manik Mili superintendent at the civil hospital.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal ordered the director of health services to rush to Majuli and take stock of the circumstances that led to the incident.
A similar incident in August last year attracted widespread anguish when a man in Odisha walked more than 10 km with his weeping 12-year daughter, while carrying his dead wife on his shoulders.
The Logical Indian community expresses its distress at the circumstances which forced a man to carry his brother’s dead body on a bicycle to perform the last rites. Though the hospital officials have argued that the man left with the body before the hospital hearse van arrived, we remain apprehensive if waiting would have helped as the patient was also brought to the hospital on a bicycle.
Several villages in rural India do not have motorable roads or proper healthcare. It takes hours for the villagers to travel to the nearest district hospital, sometimes leading to the patient’s death on the way. It is essential that the government takes measures for the development of rural areas as more than half of the Indian population resides in villages.