How often do people get exploited in desperate times of need? The pandemic has become an ideal time for such exploitation. In the IT capital of India, Bengaluru, an ambulance driver asked an amount of Rs 60,000 from a family to keep the dead body of their family member, a 55-year-old man, in the freezer until the funeral was organized for him the following day.
Dignity In Death Still Far Fetched For Many
On Sunday, RV Prasad, a former Bosch employee and resident of Mathikere at Bengaluru, was unwell and submitted his swab sample at the primary health centre. After a frantic search, his nephew Amit got information about the bed in the hospital in Kanakpura, where they took Prasad but was unable to admit him there as well. After not finding a bed until Tuesday, Prasad fell unconscious at 5:45 p.m. and eventually passed away. Amit said, " Around 5.45 p.m., Tuesday, he fell unconscious. We approached a private operator for an ambulance. For three hours, we tried to get him admitted but failed. By then, he had died and had no other option but to return", reported The Times of India. Prasad's family's trauma did not end there.
The ambulance driver, Hanumantha, offered to freeze the body for the night until the funeral ceremony on Wednesday for a whooping 60,000 Rs. All the efforts for negotiation were futile. It was met with threats of unloading the dead body. Pushed to the corner, they agreed to the drivers demand of an advance of Rs 3,000 to freeze the body for the night. The following day, Prasad's daughter gave him 10,000 more and asked to proceed as they didn't have any more money. In return, Hanumantha threatened to leave the body at the door or the road. Prasad's daughter pleaded with him to keep her gold necklace when the police intervened and rescued him. In his rescue, defending his actions, Hanumantha said that he demanded 6,000, which the family had misunderstood as 60,000. The misunderstanding that had taken place may be due to the wearing of his mask.
There is an increasing number of reports of overpricing and exploitation of people by various service providers. Families and individuals are helpless given the desperate situation they are in already; it is up to the government and authorities to crack a whip on this. A helpline dedicated to reporting on exploitative people who are part of public service will go a long way in eliminating the scourge of exploitation.